Preface: I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, so these are just my first impressions on how to progress.
According to the Associated Press, a Spring 2012 crackdown in Michigan on drunk driving resulted in:
- 8,000 traffic stops
- 4,000 citations or arrests
- 400 drunk driving (loosely defined) arrests
This caused me to question how many wrongful stops occurred within this crackdown. A wrongful stop is one where the officers did not articulate reasonable suspicion (Skogan & Frydl, 2004). To analyze whether or not any wrongful stops occurred, researchers would need access to all of the police reports where officers articulated the suspicion (reasoning) to stop the driver. Potentially, if officers articulated suspicion of drunk driving for every stop, then there would be no “wrongful stops.”
However, the procedure seems problematic. Any officer could say “I think this guy is drunk because he is swerving” and present it as reasonable suspicion. I don’t intend to minimize the officer’s judgment by any means nor am I trivializing the process.
I’m only presenting the idea that “wrongful stops” can be analyzed in a variety of ways. Intrinsically and legally, the officer could avoid any possibility of “wrongful stop” by providing evidence of reasonable suspicion. Extraneously, it seems appropriate to analyze the numbers (and ratios) of stops where citations were not given.
- DUI crackdown leads to more than 400 arrests. (n.d.).The Times Herald. Retrieved from http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20120423/NEWS01/304230029
- Skogan, W. G., & Frydl, K. (2004). Fairness and Effectiveness In Policing: The Evidence. National Academies Press.