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Key Issues in the Police Use of Pedestrian Stops and Searches: Discussion Papers From an Urban Institute Roundtable

NCJ Number
Nancy La Vigne, Pamela Lachman, Andrea Matthews, S. Rebecca Neusteter
Date Published
August 2012
51 pages
This document contains discussion papers presented at the Urban Institute's roundtable examining how and why law enforcement agencies engage in pedestrian stops and searches.
In September 2011, the Urban Institute convened a national roundtable to examine how and why law enforcement agencies engage in pedestrian stops and searches. The need for this roundtable has resulted from the lack of research on the use of pedestrian stops and searches and the increased use of street stops. The increased use of these stops has raised concerns about the disproportionate or inappropriate use of the stops and whether officers may be employing them excessively or inappropriately. Given this situation, the roundtable's discussion was designed to be about and for law enforcement. There were five papers presented at the roundtable: 1) Examining Law Enforcement Use of Pedestrian Stops and Searches; 2) Police Field Stops - What Do We Know, and What Does It Mean? 3) What About the Other 99 percent? - The Broader Impact of Street Stops on Minority Communities; 4) The Impact of Stop and Frisk Policies upon Police Legitimacy; and 5) Using Stop and Search Powers Responsibly - The Law Enforcement Executive's Perspective. These papers come from a diverse group of individuals, including researchers, practitioners, and representatives from citizens groups, and address whether street stops disproportionately impact communities of color, whether these stops affect citizens' perceptions of the police, and whether these stops could be conducted in a manner that preserves police-community relations.