Roseville police release traffic stop, use-of-force data

The Roseville Police Department has once again released a year’s worth of traffic stop data, along with information on use-of-force incidents in past years and more.

The traffic data release comes as part of an agreement with Ramsey County, while the rest, said Police Chief Rick Mathwig, is a department bid for more transparency.

“Law enforcement needs to be as transparent as we can,” he said, pointing out it builds trust and helps the community to give its consent to being policed.

The department’s 22-page 2018 traffic stop report breaks down its more then 5,300 stops last year by reason, the demographics of the driver, the outcome of the stop, and where and when they happened.

The thing that Mathwig said jumped out to him about the data is his officers’ continued focus on moving violations.

For 2017, the department made it a priority of traffic enforcement to crack down on violations that put other drivers, pedestrians and bikers at risk: speeding, drunk driving, running red lights and crosswalk violations.

Nearly 83 percent of the stops in 2017 were for moving violations, and for 2018, they were 81.4 percent. “That focus is still there,” said Mathwig.

The next most common reason for a stop last year was for a vehicle violation — a revoked license plate, expired tabs or a broken light — accounting for 14 percent. Investigative stops accounted for 5 percent, while a small number of stops were based on 911 calls or citizen complaints.

Roseville police stopped more men than women, by a proportion of 57 percent to 43 percent.

Officers recorded the perceived race of the people they stopped, and based on that 63 percent of the people stopped in Roseville were said to be white. People identified as black accounted for 21 percent of the stops, while those of Asian descent made up 8 percent, with Latinx making up 5 percent.

Per the 2017 American Community Survey, Roseville is 78 percent white. Black or African American people make up 7.3 percent of the population, while Asians make up 9 percent, and Hispanic or Latinx people make up 3.8 percent of the city.

Officers conducted more stops on Thursdays than any other day, with the most happening between 10 and 10:59 p.m. on Thursday nights. The most stops for moving violations clustered around the city’s commercial hub, Rosedale Center, with the most happening at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and County Road B.

The number of traffic stops carried out more than doubled from 2017 to 2018. Mathwig said that was due to the department’s renewed focus on enforcing traffic violations.



Use of force

The department’s use-of-force report includes data from between 2015 and 2018, information from its current record-keeping system that can be most readily collected, said Deputy Chief Erika Scheider.

Mathwig said perceptions of how often police use force can far outpace reality. 

In the four years included in the report, Roseville police responded to 148,205 calls for service, using force of one kind or another 0.49 percent of the time.

During the timeframe, the police department investigated nine complaints of excessive force, sustaining three of them while finding that force was justified in the rest.

The youngest person on which force was used was a 9-year-old — the report says there were three instances of police responding to schools and restraining children — while the oldest was an 85-year-old attempting to drive away from his memory care unit.

Per the report, two officers used lethal force during its timeframe, both during a 2016 welfare check on a man in a Roseville apartment that resulted in him being shot to death by police. 

The Ramsey County Attorney declined to charge the officers with wrongdoing, saying the shooting was justified — police said the man stabbed a police dog with a kitchen knife and presented a threat. The killing is the subject of a wrongful death suit currently in federal court, brought against the city and officers by the man’s family.

Officers pointed their guns at a person 852 times during the report’s timeframe, used a Taser on people 56 times, used “joint manipulations/pins” 278 times, kicks or knee strikes 57 times and punches or empty hand strikes 24 times.

That the report states that two officers were involved in a single deadly force incident, among other situations involving a single person and more than one officer, speaks to how complicated the information can be to sort, said Scheider.

Scheider said supervisors review uses of force by their officers on a case-by-case basis. The report points out that last year the department revised its use of force policy, putting an emphasis on de-escalation and protecting the sanctity of every life.

Both Mathwig and Scheider said the department welcomes questions and comments on the reports.

The reports, along with the department’s policy manual, guidelines on police body cameras and other information can be found at


–Mike Munzenrider can be reached at or 651-748-7813. 

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