Diversity in Policing: The Role of Officer Race and Gender in Police-Civilian Interactions in Chicago

Using newly collected personnel data and millions of ultra-fine-grained records on officer deployment and behavior, we conduct a detailed quantitative case study of diversity in the Chicago Police Department. We show how officers from marginalized groups are consistently assigned to different working conditions than white and male officers, meaning they typically encounter vastly different circumstances and civilian behaviors. Compared with white officers facing identical conditions, we show Black and Hispanic officers both make substantially fewer stops, arrests, and use force less often, especially against Black civilians. Much of the gaps in stops and arrests are due to a decreased focus on discretionary contact, such as stops for vaguely defined “suspicious behavior.” Within all racial/ethnic groups, female officers are substantially less likely to use force relative to male officers.