Reporting and Analysis
Motor vehicle stop procedures generally differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and data collection protocols must be tailored to capture the individual reporting needs of each agency. Any opportunity to streamline data collection efforts should be seized. In many cases jurisdictions can utilize many existing data collection systems (dispatch information, citations, officer logs) to minimize the burden of additional data collection efforts. Some jurisdictions have been able to link current data collection processes with new study-specific information using a unique identification code that appears on the top of each stop form. A field for this code could also be added to any other automated information routinely collected by officers and pulled together at a later date to reduce the amount of information that is collected repetitively.
Three main data collection methodologies have emerged to capture traffic stop information:
- form-based system (e.g. Scantron);
- a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) based system; and
- a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) based system.
The three methodologies allow jurisdictions with different existing technology to collect the same information for purposes of the study. The particular data collection protocol chosen by a local agency will influence their individual method for transferring data. For example, a CAD based system automatically aggregate information on traffic stops for analysis, while a paper forms system requires additional processing or data entry. More information about collecting data using these systems can be found in Using Technology under the Planning, Training, and Implementation section.