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Evaluating Pretextual Stop Reform in the LAPD with Bodyworn Video and Administrative Data

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Grant Recipient: University of South Carolina

Principal Investigator(s): Benjamin Graham, Nicholas Weller

Term: 2024 – 2025

Funding: $1,059,829

Summary: In March 2022, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) instituted a new policy limiting the use of pretextual traffic stops – stops in which minor violations are used as a pretext for an investigative stop. Our team will develop novel machine learning tools to extract relevant information from body-worn video footage of traffic stops. 

We will then use both reported police behavior from administrative data and the observed police behavior from body-worn video to study officer-driver interactions and stop outcomes, including searches and contraband recovery, from before and after the policy went into force. We will also examine how these interactions and outcomes vary across different neighborhoods and by the race, gender, and other characteristics of stopped motorists.