Cities consider taking police out of traffic stops

The city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, last month became one of the latest localities to re-imagine the role of policing in traffic stops.

The city council passed a package of police reforms that calls for unarmed civilians — not police officers — to enforce certain traffic violations. The move follows an April incident in which a White former police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop…

Certain technologies could also help reduce interactions between police and motorists. Automated traffic enforcement solutions like red light cameras and speed cameras, for instance, could be used in lieu of police officers.

However, Woods cautioned that automated enforcement can still perpetuate the racial inequities cities are trying to fix. Local leaders should ensure they don’t disproportionately place more cameras in communities of color, he warned. Automated ticketing can also be particularly harmful to low-income communities, he said.