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Ludlow police chief says glitch caused report error

By Bill Dedman, Globe Staff, 1/25/2003

    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

It was a technical glitch, not a failure to comply with the law that made the Ludlow Police Department rank among the worst in the state at recording the race of drivers on traffic tickets, the Ludlow Police Department chief said.

A Globe report on racial profiling earlier this month ranked police departments by compliance with state law, which requires officers to show race on traffic tickets. Nearly 10 percent of Ludlow's tickets showed no race, according to records from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

But Ludlow Police Chief James J. McGowan said this week that his department recently completed a hand search of all the traffic citations and found that officers occasionally recorded white drivers as "C" for Caucasian, rather than "W" for white, as the law requires. Data entry operators at the Registry of Motor Vehicles recorded the tickets marked "C" as blanks.

In fact, McGowan said, the department failed to record the race of the ticket recipient in only 10 of its 861 citations. Three of those were mailed to the violator, so the officer would have been unable to determine race, he added. Using the new figures, Ludlow showed a failure rate of 1.2 percent, which is below the statewide average.

This story ran on page B6 of the Boston Globe on 1/25/2003.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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