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Public Safety

San Diego Police Reporting To City Council On Racial Data Collection

A report on how the San Diego Police Department collects racial data during traffic stops is scheduled to be delivered to a City Council committee Wednesday.

According to a recent report by KPBS and Voice of San Diego, San Diego officers were slacking off the collection of the data, which is necessary for monitoring and preventing racial profiling. Most big city departments record racial information during traffic stops.

The website reported that police Chief William Lansdowne ordered officers in October to adhere to the policy -- and data collection subsequently increased.


The report to be presented to the City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee was requested by Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, who represents Southeast San Diego, a predominantly minority community.

In a memo, Cole asked the department to provide "an overview of policies and practices related to the collection of racial data." She also asked for SDPD officials to explain what was being done to "either reinforce or improve upon" existing policies.

Lansdowne told KPBS last week that the system needs to be rebuilt "almost from scratch." Civil rights and neighborhood advocacy groups are helping to develop a new plan, he said.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.