Police Reform

Customizing Stop Data Collection to Improve Insights for Law Enforcement Agencies


  • There’s a growing national trend towards mandated stop data collection, highlighted by laws like California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) and Colorado’s SB-20-217.
  • Law enforcement agencies should consider adding additional, custom questions for data collection, helping them gain better context around stops while boosting operational transparency and accountability.
  • Current data collection methods often lack flexibility and can be time-consuming; in response, Veritone created Contact, an efficient stop data application used for pedestrian and vehicle stops that has helped agencies such as San Luis Obispo and Anaheim Police Departments reduce reporting times 

With the recent surge in public demand for transparency, mandated stop data collection is gaining momentum nationwide. Notable examples include California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act, which compels law enforcement agencies within the state to document perceived demographics during pedestrian and traffic stops. Similarly, Colorado’s SB-20-217 underscores this emphasis on data collection for law enforcement entities. 

While adhering to legal requirements remains paramount, agencies can harness enhanced insights by expanding and customizing the data collection process. Law enforcement agencies can understand their operational environment better by going beyond the mandated directives with customized questions. In doing so, they can glean greater context to understand their data and defend their policing strategies more effectively. 

Reasons for Customized Data Collection

For many law enforcement agencies, especially those overseeing areas with a high influx of tourists or substantial student populations, interactions with non-residents constitute a significant portion of their stops. Recording these non-resident interactions offers multiple advantages. Firstly, it aids in delineating the extent of officer engagement with non-residents versus residents. Such data can be instrumental when lobbying legislative leaders for budget allocations or refining policing strategies. Additionally, it amplifies operational transparency, enabling command staff to derive nuanced insights into patrol activities.

Furthermore, while mandatory data collection bolsters public trust by introducing a layer of accountability, it might inadvertently generate queries about the rationale behind specific stops. Agencies should consider capturing more detailed data about officers’ perception timelines to mitigate potential ambiguities. 

For instance, noting the exact moment when an officer discerned an individual’s demographic details can offer clarity. A scenario to consider could be an officer initiating a nighttime traffic stop based on a violation, with the demographic identification occurring post-contact. Such granular recording can be pivotal in offering greater insights into the decision-making process for positive reinforcement or reveal potential improvements and training opportunities. 

The Challenge: Adapting Current Stop Data Solutions 

Current data collection solutions often lack flexibility when it comes to building out more customized reports. Some platforms are constrained by design, limiting their adaptability beyond the state-mandated requirements. Moreover, many are time-intensive, eating into an officer’s patrol day, further making the introduction of supplementary queries logistically challenging. For instance, we’ve seen agencies spend up to ten minutes per individual during a stop, which impacts operational efficiency and reduces the ability of officers to keep wheels moving to patrol effectively. 

In response to these challenges, Veritone created Contact, an intelligent stop data collection application law enforcement officers use for pedestrian and vehicle stops. It greatly reduces time spent by officers collecting data, minimizes review efforts, and provides command staff immediate insight for training and other constituent transparency initiatives.

Law enforcement agencies using Veritone Contact have reported significant reductions in data entry time, with some agencies in California noting an impressive reduction to an average of two minutes per report. This time-saving does not compromise the quality; the backend data collection remains robust, simplifying the often tedious year-end data consolidation process.

In addition to the time savings, Contact offers flexibility in what questions are included in reports. This enables command staff to tailor these stop data reports to their agency’s needs beyond the state law’s requirements. In doing so, the agency can have even more data to increase transparency further, give them insights into the health of their patrol practice, and leverage this data to validate budgets and new training programs. 

Success Stories Across California Law Enforcement Agencies 

The San Luis Obispo Police Department offers a compelling case study. Here, reporting time was drastically reduced from five minutes to just two. Beyond efficiency, they’ve seamlessly integrated custom questions to cater to their distinct college community. Another noteworthy example is the Orange Police Department, which achieved similar efficiency metrics. The Anaheim Police Department prioritized customization for adopting Contact, using the expanded data collection to foster greater transparency with elected officials and the general public. Finally, the Escondido Police Department recognized Veritone Contact’s intuitive nature as pivotal, especially given the time savings for multi-person stops. 

Maximizing the Value of Your Data 

The need for efficient and comprehensive stop data collection in today’s evolving law enforcement landscape cannot be overstated. The promise of enhanced customization and operational efficiency beckons as agencies seek to fulfill their legal obligations. Adopting sophisticated solutions like Veritone Contact aligns with legal requirements and significantly augments operational visibility, conserving resources and facilitating data-driven decision-making.

Explore Contact