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NEAR Act Inquiry

Answers provided by Dustin Sternbeck, Director, Office of Communications for
the Metropolitan Police Department

1. Why has DC Police not fully complied with the data collection required
in Title 2G of the NEAR Act?
MPD continues to review available data and data collection processes to identify
the best way forward in providing the data as required in the legislation. MPD
policy already stipulates that MPD collect most of the data referenced in the
NEAR Act for stops and frisks (see, e.g. General Order 304.10). Some of that data
is only documented in the narrative text portion of forms PD 76 and PD
251. MPD is currently working on a strategy to extract that information from the
narrative form responses.
2. What obstacles or challenges has prevented DC Police from implanting
the data collection required by Title 2G of the NEAR Act?
Fortunately MPD officers have the ability to collect most of the data required in
the legislation. But as noted, the data is not collected in a manner that can be
easily sorted or consistently reviewed. Here are a few of the challenges at hand:
• Data from traffic tickets is collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Currently MPD does not track traffic stops in which a ticket is issued but no
arrest is made.
• Demographic data is captured according to officerobservation, which can
create inconsistencies in how a person is identified. It can also create variance in
how the same person is perceived and identified. MPD policy (GO 304.10)
affirms that people who are contacted, stopped, frisked, or arrested by MPD
“shall not be compelled to answer questions or produce identification for
examination by [an] officer.” Respecting an individual’s 4th Amendment rights is
an MPD priority and thus as a policy, the data collected around race, gender,
ethnicity, age, etc. is either provided voluntarily or based on officer observation.
3. The NEAR Act “Safer/Stronger” website lists compliance with Title 2G
as “in progress”. How much progress has DC Police made as it relates to
Title 2G? https://saferstronger.dc.gov/page/near-act-safer-stronger-dc
MPD meets a majority of the data collection requirements of Title 2G. Our work
continues to identify a process from which we can extract usable information
from the raw data and / or narrative information.
4. When does DC Police anticipate it will be in compliance with Title 2G of
the NEAR Act?
The work of reviewing the data and sorting it into “usable” content is both
laborious and costly. MPD continues its efforts to find a workable solution to
providing the data in a manner that is consistent with the intent of the
legislation. An end date for this work has not yet been confirmed.
5. What has DC Police spent the $150,000 in funding on that was
earmarked for implementation of Title 2G of the NEAR Act?
These funds were allocated in a previous fiscal year and were not expended.