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New Virginia law requires police to question race at traffic stop

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 11:55:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. - On July 1, many laws took in effect including one which purpose serves to stop police officers from engaging in bias-based profiling while performing traffic stops.

The Virginia Community Policing Act requires law enforcement to record information about a driver’s race, ethnicity, age, and gender during a traffic stop.

Officials must also include the reason for the stop, the location of the stop, whether a warning, written citation, or summons was issued or whether any person was arrested. Officers must report if a warning, written citation, or summons was issued or an arrest was made, the warning provided, violation charged, or crime charged; and whether the vehicle or any person was searched.

Most of the information required is found on a driver’s license except ethnicity, but if not provided it will be based on observation.

Each local police department is also required to report to Virginia State Police the number of complaints the agency receives alleging the use of excessive force.

Related: Local police departments respond to releasing use-of-force reports

The law requires the reports and data from Community Policing Reporting Database to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General beginning on or before July 1, 2021.