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March 21, 2017

2016 Vermont State Police Traffic Stop Data








Waterbury, VT / March 21, 2017 – On March 21, 2017 the Department of Public Safety released Vermont State Police (VSP) traffic stop data for calendar year 2016.  For seven years, the VSP has collected and analyzed traffic data in its continuing effort to educate troopers and the public on the importance of fair and impartial policing practices by law enforcement. 


This 2016 data, which supplements the release last year of traffic stop data activity from 2010 through 2015, shows a vast improvement in quality of the 2016 data.  Less than one percent (1%) of the 2016 data was missing or erroneous as compared to over five percent (5%) in 2015 and over six percent (6%) in 2014. This improved data collection is a direct result of in-service training last year for all sworn members and civilian administrative staff on the importance of accurate traffic stop data collection for discretionary car stops and on the standardization of coding, elimination of multiple ticket entries, and the reduction of other collection errors.  


The 2016 data also shows that the difference in search rates between African-American and white drivers has narrowed significantly.  Search rates for African-American drivers fell from 5.10% in 2015 to 2.58% in 2016 while search rates for white drivers remained at 0.90%.  Of the 1,157 African-American drivers stopped in 2016, 29 resulted in a search and of those 29 searches, 22 resulted in the seizure of contraband.  This compares with 428 white drivers searched out of 48,684 stops.  In those searches, contraband was found in 366 instances.  This data only accounts for contraband seized from the driver and does include contraband which may have been seized from any passenger in the vehicle.


The Department’s analysis and understanding of this data, including racial disparities in VSP traffic stops, has led to a Department-wide education and training process on fair and impartial policing.  In 2016, Vermont State Police Director Colonel Matthew T. Birmingham created the Office of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs.  Leading this effort is Captain Ingrid Jonas whose responsibilities include directing the VSP’s efforts to develop and implement  comprehensive programs to ensure fair policing practices at all levels of the state police.  Equally important, Captain Jonas is responsible for building relationships of trust with minority communities, diversifying our workforce, and improving our cultural awareness as the state of Vermont becomes more diverse.   Data collection is but one tool the Department uses to ensure it is meeting its mission to promote transparency and enhance community trust. 


“Community Policing is the cornerstone of good policing.  And successful community policing requires fair and impartial policing,” said Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas D. Anderson.  “The collection and analysis of this data is but one part of the Department of Public Safety’s and the Vermont State Police’s deep commitment to fair and impartial policing for all communities in Vermont,” commented Anderson. 


“The Vermont State Police will continue to analyze traffic stop data on an annual basis.  It is one component of a much larger commitment to ensuring fair and impartial policing in every community we serve.  I am very proud of the commitment and professionalism exhibited by the men and women of the Vermont State Police,” said Vermont State Police Director Colonel Matthew T. Birmingham.


The Department of Public Safety and the Vermont State Police would like to acknowledge and thank the Fair and Impartial Policing Committee of the Vermont State Police for their continued efforts to advise senior leadership of VSP in best practices for agency policies regarding fair and impartial policing; accountability; outreach to diverse communities;  recruitment/hiring/training of police officers; and data collection.  The committee has been in place for over a decade and is comprised of a diverse range of Vermont citizens and Vermont law enforcement members working together toward shared goals. The public is always welcome.


To view/download the VSP 2016 Traffic Stop data, please visit the Vermont State Police Traffic Stop Data page, which can also be linked to from the VSP home page.  A PDF graph and chart presentation is also available.  


The 2010-2015 Traffic Stop Data file, and analytic reports based on this data, can also be found there.



Colonel Matthew T. Birmingham


Vermont State Police

45 State Drive

Waterbury, VT 05671





Scott Waterman

Vermont State Police Public Information Officer

802-241-5277 desk

802-279-4554 cell