New Virginia law requires officers to record person’s race during traffic stop

Community Policing Act became law July 1 to help identify bias in policing

The next time you are pulled over in Virginia, an officer will have to write down your race because of a new law called the Community Policing Act.

“It is more work, but it is more work like cameras that help us in the end,” said Cpt. Juette Renalds with Amherst County Sheriff’s Office.

The bill, introduced by a delegate in northern Virginia a year ago, went into effect on July 1.

“It’s rather ironic the legislation was signed into law and became effective today with all that is happening in the country,” said Virginia Delegate Luke Torian.

According to the law, Virginia State Police will be in charge of collecting the data from law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth.

The purpose is to see whether departments are bias profiling during traffic and investigatory stops.

“I think we’re happy with that. Honestly, what that does is it provides us is vindication,” Renalds said.

Deputies in Amherst County are already recording the information. 10 News rode along with them to see for ourselves.

Lynchburg police officers were trained last month and are tracking the information too.

“Making sure they know where in the system to put this information so that we’re tracking it accurately when we submit it to the Virginia State Police,” said Carrie Dungan, Community Relations Coordinator for the Lynchburg Police Department.

Virginia State Police will take all the reported data collected annually and hand it over to the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Amherst County told 10 News they’ll be sending reports to Virginia State Police every month. Their first one is due on Aug. 1.

Lynchburg police will send their reports quarterly. They plan to send theirs on Oct. 15.

By July 1, 2021, all the data collected will have to be reported to the governor, general assembly and attorney general.

If you’d like to read the new law yourself click or tap here.