UPD 2021 traffic stops up by 450, related arrests double over 2020

Juan A.

The Uvalde Police Department conducted 450 more traffic stops in 2021 than in 2020, according to a report given last month by Lt. Juan A. Martinez at a meeting of the Uvalde City Council.

“This report will fulfill the state mandate in regards to our racial profiling records, and these numbers are correct,” Martinez said in presenteing the report.

Councilman Rogelio M. Muñoz asked Martinez if there were a lot of differences from the prior year in the UPD racial profiling report.

“This year we had 9,317 total stops, last year’s report we had 8,867 stops, so we had some increase in our stops,” Martinez said.

Martinez said arrests doubled, stating there were 53 arrests made this year, compared to 26 last year. 

According to the 2021 UPD racial profiling report, officers had prior knowledge of the driver’s ethnicity in 31 stops, or 0.33 percent, and no prior knowledge in 9,286 stops, or 99.67 percent. UPD Chief Daniel Rodriguez stated last year that in some instances, police officers may stop individuals they know, which can result in prior knowledge of a person’s race or ethnicity.

Per the police report, 5,808 or 62.34 percent of the individuals stopped were of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity; 3,312 or 35.55 percent of people were Caucasian; 125 or 1.34 percent were African American; 38 or 0.41 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander; and 34 or 0.36 percent were Alaska Native/American Indian.

About 61 percent more male drivers, at 5,670 people, were stopped than the approximately 39 percent of females, at 3,647.

Reasons stops were made include 8,092 moving violations; 1,118 vehicle traffic violations; 95 law violations; and 12 cases where the stop was made due to officers’ pre-existing knowledge. 

In five instances, officers used physical force, which resulted in bodily injury to the vehicle occupant in three instances and to officers in two instances. No physical force that created injury was used in 9,312 instances.

The majority of stops were made on city of Uvalde streets, at 7,418; about 931 stops were made on U.S. highways; 764 on private property; 46 on county roads; and 158 or state highways.

Of the 9,317 total traffic stops conducted between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, 53 resulted in arrests, with 49 people issued a written warning and four of those arrested also issued a citation; 1,002 motorists were issued citations; and 8,262 written warnings were issued.

Police officers made 35 of the 53 total arrests based on violation of the penal code; six were based upon outstanding warrants; and the final 12 were based upon violation of traffic law.

No search was conducted by UPD officers in 96.63 percent of the stops, or 9,003 instances.

Vehicle searches were conducted in 314 cases, up by 45 from the 269 searches conducted the previous year. Of those searches, 114 were conducted with consent of the driver; 162 were conducted due to probable cause; 11 involved contraband in plain view; 21 were conducted incidental to an arrest; and six were conducted for inventory purposes.

Contraband was discovered in 185 of the 314 searches. In 119 cases, drugs were found; in four instances the contraband was alcohol; in three cases, it was currency; in two cases weapons were discovered; and in the remaining instances, contraband classified as “other,” which may include things like stolen property, was found.

Martinez gave the report at the Jan. 11 city council meeting, held at 6 p.m. in the second floor chambers at city hall.

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UPD 2021 traffic stops up by 450, related arrests double over 2020