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  Tewksbury Police Officer Walter Jop III conducted the most automobile searches in the state, a Globe data analysis found. (Globe Staff Photo / Tom Landers)

Tewksbury officer tops state in auto searches

By Bill Dedman, Globe Correspondent and Francie Latour, Globe Staff, 1/7/2003

    On city boulevards and rural lanes, whites and women are far more likely to receive written warnings instead of tickets when stopped for identical traffic offenses, according to a Boston Globe study of newly released state records.


Police plan public meeting

Chiefs deny racial profiling

Civil rights advocates laud plan

Police chiefs decry study

Racial profiling is confirmed
Northeastern study [PDF]
Report summary
Who got a passing grade?
Police response [MS Word]

Police flouting 'no fix' law on tickets

Profiling study cites dozens of locales Charts
Northeastern study [PDF]

Reilly starts push to end profiling in police stops

Boston police to get tough on tickets

Judge: Suspect must stay in jail

Seeing bias, evidence tossed

Deeper look at profiling

Funding urged for study

Ticketing cited despite curbs

Romney backs profile tracking
People asked to join task force

Chief: Glitch caused error

Task force to review data


Day 1:
Race, sex, and age drive ticketing
Minority officers are stricter on minorities
Boston to track all stops by police

Who gets fined for speeding
Minority officers
Most-favored status
One officer's week

Ticketing whites vs. minorities
Large departments | All

Ticketing women vs. men
Large departments | All

Day 2:
Punishment varies by town and officer

How tickets raise insurance
Ranking the departments
Littering is worse?

Toughest on speeders
Large departments | All
Locals vs. out-of-towners
Large departments | All

Day 3:
Troopers fair, tough in traffic encounters

Frequent ticketers
How fast can you go?

Editorial: Tickets to fix
Op-Ed: Looking deeper
Op-Ed: Study proves nothing
Profiles in prejudice


Q & A
Secretary of Public Safety Edward A. Flynn, the senior law enforcement official in Massachusetts, spoke with the Globe about this series. Q & A

Detailed report
A closer look at how the Globe analyzed hundreds of thousands of traffic tickets.
Download study
This .PDF document requires Adobe Acrobat

Online chat
Globe reporter Bill Dedman chatted with readers about this series.
Read full transcript


In January, the Globe published the first results of its analysis.

Part 1:
Citations reveal disparity
Totals key to computations

Tracking tickets
Searches by race and age

Searching minorities more often
Ticketing their own

Part 2:
Police not pressed on race
Tewksbury cop is tops
Fridays worst for tickets
Scope of monitoring reduced

Where race was not recorded

Failing to record the race
Searching more cars

Either Officer Walter Jop III is the number one bloodhound in the state, or he's not very careful about filling out his traffic tickets.

Patrolling for speeding and seat belt violations in the quiet town of Tewksbury, Jop reported searching more vehicles for contraband than any police officer in the state, according to tickets filed with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and examined by the Globe.

While officers statewide searched less than 2 percent of vehicles ticketed, Jop reported searching two out of three: 119 searches out of 178 tickets. That's two-thirds of the white drivers, four out of the five Asian drivers, and all four of the black motorists.

Those numbers sound about right, said Jop, a three-year veteran of the force. ''I work nights now. It's a time of night when it's not the savoriest people out. You're going to find drugs.''

But his police chief says it just can't be so, that Officer Jop must be checking ''yes'' on the traffic tickets even when he doesn't search.

''All I can say is, he did a horrendous job of accurately documenting the searches,'' the Tewksbury police chief, John R. Mackey, said Friday after the Globe pointed out the pattern. ''We are presently contacting people who he had stopped and cited, including some of the people who he had said he did searches [on], and we have found to date that he had not searched their vehicle. But we are continuing to look at it.''

Jop did score a drug bust on one of his vehicle searches. Just after 3 a.m. on Nov. 1, he spotted 20 bags of illegal mushrooms in the back of a car he had pulled over for speeding.

''You learn what to look for as you go along,'' said Jop.

This story ran on page A8 of the Boston Globe on 1/7/2003.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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