The Portland and South Portland police departments will be teaming up with the University of Southern Maine and Northeastern University on an analysis of arrests, summons, citations and use of force between 2018 and 2020.
“This will help us not only assess and understand our historical data and take appropriate action as necessary, but will also place us on a trajectory for having a sustainable process to analyze our enforcement-related demographic data moving forward,” Portland Police Chief Frank Clark said.
As part of the effort, researchers from USM’s Cutler Institute and Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice will explore historic and demographic trends in the departments’ law enforcement activities. The year-long project will include the race, ethnicity, age, gender, location of arrest or crime report and residency of the arrestee, as well as the demographics of the arresting officer.
“We are excited to work with such agencies who voluntarily choose to look at possible racial and ethnic disparities in enforcement practices,” said Jack McDevitt, director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University, who has participated in similar studies across the country. “This is unique, as most agencies only agree to this kind of transparency and analysis as a result of legislative requirements or litigation.”