HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Colonel Robert Evanchick, announced Tuesday that the department is initiating a wide-ranging contact data collection program designed to capture potential patterns of racial/ethnic disparities in policing.
On January 1, 2021, troopers began documenting the demographic data regardless of whether the encounter results in a citation or written warning. The data will be analyzed by researchers at the University of Cincinnati to, make recommendations on changes to PSP policy or training if appropriate.
“Troopers take an oath to enforce the law ‘without any consideration of class, color, creed or condition,’ and this data collection effort is one way to show the public we are upholding that oath,” said Colonel Evanchick. “Regular and ongoing analysis by a neutral third party is a critical part of this program that emphasizes our department’s commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.”
PSP have previously conducted a reporting program from 2002 through 2011, though the new program will benefit from advancements in technology over the past decade.
“Contact data reports were previously completed and reviewed by hand, which was a cumbersome and time intensive method. For this project, we have digitally streamlined the process and integrated contact data reports with our existing mobile office environment to minimize the impact data collection has on the duration of traffic stops,” said Colonel Evanchick. “We look forward to learning from the data and analysis by the University of Cincinnati.”
The program will run through the end of 2021 and a final statistical analysis will be available in April 2022. PSP anticipates continuing the collection of data and independent analysis in the future.