House Bill addresses traffic stops

House Bill 2355 passed both houses of the Oregon Legislature and landed on Governor Kate Brown’s desk for her signature before becoming law earlier this month. Its purpose? To help better track interaction between law enforcement and the public as well as stem possible discriminatory practices based on race and gender. 

The bill, carried by Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, requires that law enforcement collect data regarding a person’s age, race and gender during an officer initiated traffic stop. 

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, the agency in charge of implementing the new law, and the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training have until July 2018 to develop a reporting method for the data and train officers on the street on how to properly engage with residents while executing the chosen method. 

“This procedure will certainly increase the time needed for person and vehicle stops, as there will have to be a separate document completed to record all the required information,” said Captain Conrad Gagner of the Cottage Grove Police Department. “Officers will need to carry in their vehicles/patrol bags an additional stock of whatever forms are decided on by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.” He also noted that officers who stop pedestrians do not have to document the encounter in accordance to the law unless the resident is cited, arrested or searched. Vehicle stops must be documented in all cases. 

“Based on the number of law enforcement officers Cottage Grove employs, CGPD must begin recording this information no later than July 1, 2020.  We then must begin reporting this data to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission no later than July 1, 2021, and annually thereafter,” Gagner said.