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Ann Arbor adopts ordinance to restrict police from pulling over drivers for minor traffic violations

Josh Hakala
89.1 WEMU

Minor traffic violations that do not impact public safety will not be enforced by the Ann Arbor Police Department. This is after a new ordinance passed unanimously at Thursday night's Ann Arbor City Council meeting.

The city of Ann Arbor became the first city in the state to adopt an ordinance like this. The Driving Equity Ordinance means that drivers will not be pulled over for equipment violations such as cracked windshields, tinted windows, or loud exhaust.

A recent study of traffic stops by Ann Arbor police shows non-white motorists are more likely to be pulled over and searched than white drivers.

Ward One City Councilwoman Cynthia Harrison sponsored the ordinance. She says it will not only minimize potentially dangerous interactions with police, but it could help the police protect the city.

"You know, it frees up officers to really focus on folks that are speeding, and folks that have traffic violations that are dangerous or a risk of life. So really, I think it’s a win-win."

Stefani Carter is the chair of the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission says the city is setting a standard for others to follow.

"Ann Arbor is about to be on the forefront of what I think is gonna be a national movement. Across the country, folks like us are looking at doing away with what really produces unnecessary contacts between the police and the public."

Carter told City Council that her group is planning to organize a public forum to discuss this issue with local law enforcement officials.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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