A new Virginia law requires police officers to ask individuals pulled over during traffic stops for their race, ethnicity, and gender.
The change is part of the Community Policing Act, which took effect Wednesday. Aimed at eliminating "bias-based profiling," the law requires officers to record the driver’s race, ethnicity, age, and sex while conducting traffic stops.
The law says the police will collect data "based on the officer's observation or information provided to the officer by the driver."
The city of Arlington released a statement telling residents that they should be prepared for the change, as "it may involve the officer asking them additional questions on a traffic stop."
Luke Torian, a Democratic delegate representing Prince William County, proposed the legislation to track complaints on the use of excessive force and determine whether police engage in racial targeting. A similar bill was passed in Washington, D.C., last year, and the ACLU issued a report in June charging that disparities found in the data on police stops suggest that there may be "racial bias" in the city's police department.
The legislation in Virginia comes amid calls from protesters to reform or defund the police. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) confirmed earlier this week that he will be making a $1 billion budget cut to the NYPD.