Terry Stops Data

Introduction to SPD's Terry Stop Data

This dashboard presents data surrounding police-civilian contacts that involve the stop and limited detention of an individual (Terry stop). Under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), such contacts authorized under law and policy for purposes of investigating, based on an officer's reasonable suspicion, whether the individual is engaging, has engaged, or is about to engage in criminal activity.   During the course of a Terry stop, an officer may develop probable cause to effect an arrest, but probable cause is not required to make the initial stop, nor does a stop that is based on probable cause to arrest fall within the category of a Terry stop. 

One note about these data is important.  The Seattle Police Department does not use "stop and frisk" as a deployment tactic, nor does the Department view the number of stops as indicative of a goal by which to measure proactive policing. Without question, investigative stops, when supported by reasonable suspicion, are a useful tool to address potential criminal activity encountered by police officers, but increasing or even maintaining the level of stops year to year is not a goal for the department.  These data should not, accordingly, be viewed as a proxy for measuring officer proactivity. 

The Department is releasing these data as part of its commitment to the Police Foundation's Public Safety Open Data Portal and to highlight transparency around our policies, process, and training with respect to stops and detentions.  The Department's policies regarding arrests, search, and seizure are published, collectively, as Title 6 of the SPD Manual.  Requirements for conducting and documenting Terry stops specifically are prescribed in Section 6.220.