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Age, race, ethnicity and gender are the most common data that is recorded on arrest reports and on traffic citations. When a call involves a possible hate crime, we also document the demographic of the victim(s) and offender(s).
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In 2019, Lexington wrote 3,503 citations, of which 6% to 7% were operators or motorists officers identified as Black. (In the Commonwealth, since the 2005 racial profiling data collection, officers are asked to put on a citation what they perceive as the operator's race).
The challenge is assessing who is the motoring public in Lexington. Approximately 70% of our citations are issued to non-Lexington residents. We are not aware of a reliable source for the demographic of our motoring/commuting public that would help to determine whether 6% to 7% is what would be anticipated based on the number of non-residents driving through Lexington.
The Captain of Operations is charged with watching for trends in citation data. Every citation is inspected by a shift commander. Inspecting by race, ethnicity, and gender is part of our processes.
The number of citations on a daily basis using 2019 data shows that we issued approximately 9.6 citations per day; 40% of those are warnings, and 5.8 citations per day representing fines and punitive action. This equals less than.5 citations per officer per day (our traffic enforcement is very modest). We do not tabulate on a daily basis. Such a small sampling is not, as statistically relevant as monthly and quarterly reports.
In September 2020, officers "discharged" a less lethal weapon (bean bag) to subdue a violent person. Prior to that, excluding animal events and training, we were confronted by an armed person in May 2009. The person was shot once, suffering minor injuries, and was transported to the hospital for medical treatment and evaluation.
Sustained means that reasonable grounds were found to support the allegation. Not sustained means there was insufficient information to support the allegation. Unfounded means there was little to no information to support the allegation.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts recently ruled and will now permit a Defendant to use as a defense that they were stopped as a result of racial profiling and not for a legitimate police action. The Commonwealth must then prove that profiling was not the reason for the stop.
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police and other respected organizations came out with training material within a week of that decision. This material was distributed to all officers and discussed with their patrol teams.
We prohibit profiling. This ruling reinforces a standard that we have already been using. We are prepared to present to the Court an officer's enforcement history, and a fully documented explanation as to why a particular stop was lawful.