New changes to Duluth Police Department traffic stops in 2024

New changes to Duluth Police Department traffic stops in 2024

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The Duluth branch of the NAACP celebrated what they call a milestone today. After several years, the Duluth Police Department will make changes to pedestrian and traffic stops starting next year.

According to the Law Enforcement Accountability Network (LEAN), people of color account for nearly two out of five vehicle stops. However, people of color make up 10 percent of Duluth’s population.

Classie Dudley with the Duluth NAACP, says the new changes to the law will help people. An example of one of the changes is people with lower incomes won’t face potential fines with fixing their cars.

“People who already can’t afford to fix their cars now pay a fine on top of that,” Dudley said. “You may or may not know those fines can escalate to getting your license suspended, jail time and more.”

Jamey Sharp with LEAN said it’s important residents ask police officers during stops: “What’s the risk to public safety?”

“You cannot be pulled over for a license plate light that is out,” Sharp said. “That is not a direct threat to public safety or a small object hanging from your mirror that is not obstructing your view or when you are walking home from the grocery store with a bag in your hand.”

Sharp said the new policy is still a rough draft. Although it can protect and ultimately lead to better relationships between the police and communities

“You need to know your rights,” Sharp said. “You need to know that officers must be able to articulate a direct threat to public safety to stop you when you are walking or driving.”

Police Chief Mike Ceynowa with the DPD said in a statement “We look forward to this conversation with the community and members of DPD as we work together to create a safer Duluth for all,” Ceynowa said. “We are hopeful that this exercise around policy creation will help continue to build trust between the community and the Duluth Police Department.”

The new traffic and pedestrian stop policy will begin January 1st of 2024. For more information about the data regarding the traffic stops you can read more here. Also for other stories happening in Duluth you can read more here.