DULUTH — In 2022, the Duluth Police Department made 5,944 mostly self-initiated stops — collecting details on the person's perceived race and gender, whether there was a citation issued and any other action taken.
The data was compiled into a report and made available on the department's website, alongside a spreadsheet that shows the details, recorded by officers immediately at the scene on each stop. The department first started collecting this detailed data at the end of 2021 and this is the first time it has issued a full report — though it plans to continue to share its results online quarterly.
Police Chief Mike Ceynowa said in a news release that it is important for the department to be transparent and build trust within the community.
"Traffic and subject stops are an integral part of keeping our community safe and how these stops are conducted matter to those who live, work and visit our city," said Ceynowa, who has been in the leadership position since September 2022.
Mattie Hjelseth, spokeswoman for the Police Department, said there were no surprises within the data and the information will be used alongside the racial bias audit that will be released in August to "examine our practices and continue to look for ways to continue to improve our services to the community."
Among the findings:
Fewer than half of the people stopped were women and the perceived or known race of the subjects was 81% white, 11.2% black, 4.1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.6% Hispanic, 1.4% Asian and 0.4% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific.
In most cases, those stopped were given a warning (78.8%) or citation (13.6%), though 3.5% of people were arrested and 4.1% had no action taken.
Of those who were arrested — the majority were white (68%), Black (16.4%) or American Indian (12.6%). In cases where no action was taken, 77.4% were white, 11.2% were Black and 6.6% were American Indian.
A search was conducted during 239 stops — or 4% of the time — and the person was most often white (63.2%), Black (21.8%) or American Indian (12.5%).
The report noted that officers have body-worn cameras, dash cameras, and rear squad cameras.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the voluntary release of the data shows that there is movement on "the arc of justice."
"Chief Ceynowa is insistent that we collect and use this data to inform how things are going and where we can adjust course and change both the policing conversation and who's engaged with it, moving forward," she said.
Larson said she needs to see a couple more data collection cycles to understand the "story in the numbers."