Police departments in Los Angeles and other large cities across California won’t have to collect data in an effort to combat racial profiling until next July, delaying by six months the timeline called for under state law.
California police officers will have to track the perceived race, gender, age and other demographic information of those they pull over in traffic, pedestrian and bike stops, and detail the reasons for the stop. But writing the rules has been complicated, deputies in California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office told a committee responsible for overseeing the regulations during a Wednesday meeting in San Diego.
“It’s too important to rush,” said Kelli Evans, a special assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights issues.
The regulations were supposed to be finished before Becerra’s predecessor, Kamala Harris, left the office in January. Law enforcement groups have argued that the proposed data collection rules developed by the state oversight body are too onerous for officers.
Once Becerra took the job, he met with those groups as well as academics and civil rights organizations to review them. In late April, Becerra also enlisted Los Angeles police officers and eight other departments across California to test how officers would tally the demographic information. Officers took an average of two and a half minutes to fill out the data collection form at every stop, state Justice Department officials said.
Becerra’s office expects to release revised data collection rules in a couple of weeks.
Under the law, the state’s largest police departments — those with more than 1,000 officers — will have to issue a report detailing the demographics of their stops by April 2019, and all departments in the state will have to do so by 2023. The delay in finishing the regulations means the first reports for the largest departments will have six months of data instead of a year.