Bliss: Traffic stop findings ‘do not reflect values’ of GR

Study found black drivers were twice as likely as others to be pulled over in 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said she is “deeply disappointed” by a recent study’s findings that black drivers are twice as likely as others to be pulled over in the city.

A Thursday statement on her Facebook page marked the mayor’s first public comment on the study, which was released Tuesday. She said the findings “do not reflect the values and priorities of our city.”

But she also said the report “gives us the important data we need to know the scope of the problem so we — as a community — can fix it.”

The study found black drivers were 1.85 times more likely than other drivers to be stopped by the Grand Rapids Police Department between 2013 and 2014 and that they were twice as likely to be stopped in 2015. The study also found Hispanic drivers were 1.3 times more likely than others to be pulled over in 2015.

>Online: Full Traffic Stop Data Analysis (pdf)

The consultant firm that conducted the study included a list of recommendations for GRPD. In her Facebook post, Bliss said she was “committed to moving forward immediately on these recommendations.” As part of that, she said she will ask the City Commission next week to approve funding for a study of GRPD’s 2016 traffic stop data.

“I also am committed to our continued focus on improving community and police relations, which requires listening, developing relationships and building trust,” her statement reads in part. “Working together as a community, I believe we can — and will — create long-term systemic change.”