Traffic stops involving minorities in Davenport stays stagnant, study finds

DAVENPORT-- Usually it's the police checking on the people. But on Monday it's a new study checking on them.

Research from St. Ambrose University looked at how many cars are being pulled over and who is in that drivers seat.

Results showed the number of minorities being pulled over in Davenport stayed the same from last year. Right now minorities are 7- percent more likely to be pulled over than whites.

Davenport resident Richard Lee says back in the 80's he was racially profiled and was pulled over and surrounded by officers.

"Regardless of what direction you looked, there was a pistol aimed directly at our head. It was pretty frightening," remembers Lee.

He came tonight to see how the numbers add up now. They've improved.

"I do feel good about it especially given the climate in the nation today," says Lee.

Other finding show whites are more likely to be ticketed when stopped. Minorities are more likely to be arrested.

The study found police are more likely to request a car search if a minority is driving, but police are more likely to turn up illegal property while searching a caucasian's car.

Overall the number of stops is way down. Back in 2011, officers made around 11,000 stops. Last year in 2016 they made around 5,100.

"That's a concern of mine. I don't want my officers to feel like they shouldn't be making traffic stops," says Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski.

Chief Sikorski says things like cell phone video, social media, and possibly even this study could be the cause.

And while there's still work that needs to be done, community members are along for the ride to improvement.

"They're taking steps toward improving relationships between minorities and police departments. I'm confident they'll get there if they continue down the path they're going," says Lee.

Davenport police say they concentrate patrol efforts in areas with the most violent crime and 9-1-1 calls for service. They say some of those neighborhoods have more minority residents.