Roseville releases 2017 traffic stop data

The Roseville Police Department released a year’s worth of traffic stop data on Feb. 2, revealing information about the nearly 2,500 stops that happened in the city in 2017.

Previous to last year, according to the release, the department only had access to specific demographics about drivers — their perceived race and their gender — for stops that resulted in a citation.

Beginning a year ago though, the release says, all Ramsey County police agencies that use dispatch services from the Ramsey County Emergency Communication Center began to voluntarily collect a number of data points about each traffic stop they conduct. The move was made for greater transparency in policing, and to have more data about stops.

The data points include the reason for the traffic stop, the perceived race of the driver, the driver’s gender and where the driver lives.


In line with its focus on policing moving violations, in 2017 the Roseville Police Department took part in the “Lights On” program. 

Through the program, police departments work with local auto shops to provide vouchers to motorists who have equipment violations such as broken taillights to get the lights fixed for free, in lieu of officers issuing citations, which can be a financial burden. 

Last year, a handful of metro area shops participated.

The Roseville Police Department is continuing the program for 2018 — Chief Rick Mathwig said he sees no end in sight for it — with local support from Baber Auto Repair, Brausen Family Repair, Midas of Roseville, Roseville Auto and Marine and Roseville Auto Repair. According to Mathwig, Ted Brausen is the person responsible for continuing the program with Roseville-based support.

About the stops

In 2017, Roseville police officers conducted 2,459 traffic stops. The vast majority of those, 83 percent — that’s just more than 2,000 stops — were for moving violations. Vehicle violations, such as a broken taillight, accounted for 11 percent of the stops, with investigative stops making up the remainder.

As explained in the release, as of 2017, Roseville police shifted their traffic enforcement focus to moving violations — speeding, drunk driving, running red lights and crosswalk violations — that put other drivers, bikers and pedestrians at risk.

Reached by email, Roseville police Chief Rick Mathwig said that while he had no specific percentage in mind when he decided to focus the department’s attention on moving violations, “83 percent tells me it was a focus of the officers.”

According to the data release, 60 percent of the people stopped by Roseville police last year were perceived as being white; people perceived as black accounted for 21 percent of the stops. In all, people perceived as non-white accounted for 40 percent of the stops.

The release included demographic information about Roseville: for 2016, the U.S Census Bureau estimated that 26 percent of the city’s population were people of color. The 2010 census showed Roseville had a population of 33,360.

While the percentage of people of color stopped in Roseville is higher than the percentage of non-white residents who live in the city, according to the release, an estimated 36,000 people travel to Roseville each day for work.

The data release said the information “will be helpful for having informed conversations with the Roseville community about racial disparities in the criminal justice system and may assist in providing a better understanding of how traffic laws are being enforced in Roseville and Ramsey County.”

It did not include any conclusions about the data, but said the department is taking a hard look at it, and will work with a doctoral class at Hamline University for additional insights. According to Mathwig, the Roseville Police Department has longtime links with Hamline’s criminal justice program.

Mathwig said he expected to be able to discuss some of the practical takeaways from the data at a March 14 “Imagine Roseville” community discussion. He said he expected to hear from the public about the traffic stop data, but in the days just after the release, he’d yet to receive any comments.

At the Imagine Roseville event, Mathwig said he expects to address the traffic stop data and answer up-front questions about it, before attendees break into table discussions. There may be time for additional questions and comments at the end of the discussion.

The Wednesday, March 14, Imagine Roseville community discussion is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Roseville Skating Center, 2661 Civic Center Drive.

To view the 2017 Roseville traffic stop data and the release about the data, go to


– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at or 651-748-7813. 

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