The Legislature’s budget committee has approved funding for a program designed to track racial profiling in traffic stops.
The measure passed Wednesday by the Joint Finance Committee on a party-line vote helps lay the groundwork for the system police will use to report data collected during traffic stops. Starting in January of next year, departments will be required under state law to submit information on the race of those pulled over by police.
State Representative Robin Vos (R-Racine) says law enforcement thinks the effort is a waste of resources and will keep officers off the road filling out paperwork. He says it fulfills a political agenda, rather than a law enforcement agenda.
However, state Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) says police would still have to collect the data, with or without the funding. She argued that failing to approve the $800,000 in funding Wednesday would have essentially left departments to cover the cost on their own.
Vos says there’s still a huge gap that departments across the state will be forced to fill on their own, with costs of up $10 million estimated to upgrade equipment in squad cars to collect the profiling data. Supporters argue grants and federal funding will help cover most of the costs.