Jefferson City, Missouri traffic stats improving, but vehicle stop numbers only one factor

Missouri’s annual Vehicle Stops Report can elicit conversations and shine a light on potential law enforcement issues. But local officials and experts caution against relying solely on those reports when determining if police officers are acting on biases.

In 2000, Missouri legislators passed a statute requiring “all peace officers” to report information for each vehicle stop made in the state; the Attorney General’s Office has since released its annual Vehicle Stops Report every year, showing the number of stops, as well as post-stop information, for the state and communities. The premise behind the statute was to address issues of racial profiling in Missouri, according to the Attorney General’s Office website.

“People need to be able to come home, they need to be able to go to work, go to church, pick up their kids and live their lives without fear of being stopped,” Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel said.