BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -- Rachel Williams drives two cars now. One is a dark green Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“We haven’t had these windows tinted. We haven’t done anything to this car because we feel like that also adds to the fact that we are a target,” she said.

Williams’ other car is darker with tinted windows.

She said in Blue Springs, that makes her stand out.

“I couldn’t figure out why we were a target and I still really don’t know,” Williams said.

She said several stops did not result in a ticket or even a clear understanding of why she was being pulled over.

Williams is African American and she is not surprised by numbers released by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office earlier this year.

“I would say they’re not as accurate as they could be but they are not completely wrong. I know from personal experience,” she said.

The numbers are collected by police departments across the state and are mandatory if departments want to receive funding.

However, the amount of money departments get is not contingent on how well they are doing when it comes to traffic stops.

The numbers show departments, including several in the Kansas City metro area, stop minority drivers more than they do white drivers.

“You’re basing that on a 2010 census number that’s already [9] years old,” Blue Springs Police Chief Bob Muenz said. “Our daily population is not the same as our driving population.”

Muenz, a veteran police officer, knows traffic stops are important for police work.

“If you have a high accident area and you want to modify behavior, you do that through traffic stops,” he said.

Numbers from the Blue Springs department show African Americans are stopped 175 percent more than white drivers.

Muenz is fighting back, urging people to look at other departments.

“In 18 years of collecting these numbers, our number has been as high as over three to as low as just over one,” he said.

So, we did.

In Raytown, African American drivers are stopped 285 percent more than other drivers. And in Independence, they’re stopped 250 percent more.

KCTV5 News reached out to both departments via email. Our request for comment was not returned by our deadline.

Muenz says using census data that is nearly 10 years old will skew the numbers.

“Our officers are highly trained and their dedicated to the right thing in the right place," Muenz said.

There is concern from Williams that the data collected isn’t as in-depth as it should be.

“So it shows how many times a person of color was stopped or how many times a white person was stopped. But does it show what happened during the stop?” Williams asked, then answered her own question. “No.”

All of this is happening under the umbrella of a warning from the NAACP. Issued two years ago, the warning tells African Americans no to come to the Show Me State; it isn’t considered safe.

“I think that is a blanket statement that cannot be substantiated,” Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross said. “Now sure, we’ve got some numbers that show this, that and the other thing but you’ve got to drill down further than that I think.”

Ross is part of the reason police in Missouri have to record race after traffic stops.

In 2000, while Ross was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, he supported SB 1053. That bill, when it became law, added information about race to the data about traffic stops.

“It’s not make believe. It’s real. But the only way to show other people that it is real – you have to quantify that,” he said about racism. “I’m not sure I understood it then but I understand it now. What that did – when you require law enforcement to provide that kind of data, then it becomes real. Then there is a problem.”

Ross sees both sides.

He works with the police department on training officers.

But Ross, like Williams, wants to know more about why people are being stopped not just who is being pulled over.

“I don’t know if you can train someone to not be biased,” Williams said.

Williams isn’t neutral when it comes to bias in the police department. When asked if people with a strong bias should be allowed to be police officers, she said no.

“The experiences that I’ve had have not been good,” she said. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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