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SPARQ Director Eberhardt and Affiliates Receive PNAS Cozzarelli Prize for Study on Police Language During Traffic Stops

February 28, 2018

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) awarded the Cozzarelli Prize to SPARQ faculty co-director Jennifer Eberhardt and coauthors for their paper, "Language from police body camera footage shows racial disparities in officer respect."

The PNAS editorial board chose the paper and five others from more than 3,200 articles published in the journal in 2017. The award, established in 2005, recognizes "scientific excellence and originality."

Eberhardt coauthored the study with SPARQ research scientist Rebecca Hetey, SPARQ doctoral fellows Nick Camp and Camilla Griffiths, SPARQ faculty affiliate Dan Jurafsky, Stanford doctoral students Rob Voigt and William Hamilton, Stanford postdoctoral researcher Vinodkumar Prabhakaran, and David Jurgens, assistant professor at the University of Michigan. Voigt served as first author of the article.

The researchers find that police officers consistently speak with more respect toward Whites than Blacks during routine traffic stops. This disparity persists "even after controlling for the race of the officer, the severity of the infraction, the location of the stop, and the outcome of the stop," they write. "Such disparities in common, everyday interactions between police and the communities they serve have important implications for procedural justice and the building of police–community trust."

Eberhardt leads SPARQ's criminal justice programs, which include a number of other projects that dive into the challenges of modern policing: Strategies for Change (50 recommendations for improving police-community relations); Data for Change (a statistical analysis of police stops, searches, handcuffings, and arrests in Oakland, Calif.); and Principled Policing (a review of a police training programs on procedural justice and implicit bias).

Image via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences