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Police in Massachusetts generally search 1.7 percent of the cars for contraband when they write a traffic ticket. Police departments are ranked here by the search rate.

Source: Boston Globe analysis of all traffic tickets in Massachusetts, April 2001 through November 2002.

Rank Police department Tickets Searches Rate
1 Wales 42 10 23.8%
2 Edgartown 326 53 16.3%
3 Orleans 638 88 13.8%
4 Univ Of Mass Dartmouth 110 15 13.6%
5 Chilmark 67 9 13.4%
6 North Adams 825 97 11.8%
7 Plympton 491 57 11.6%
8 Winchendon 495 55 11.1%
9 Tewksbury 1,671 160 9.6%
10 Chester 242 22 9.1%
11 Leicester 1,231 106 8.6%
12 Univ Of Mass Worcester 93 8 8.6%
13 Brewster 482 41 8.5%
14 Huntington 76 6 7.9%
15 Royalston 89 7 7.9%
16 North Reading 379 29 7.7%
17 Petersham 291 21 7.2%
18 Carver 319 23 7.2%
19 Sandwich 608 43 7.1%
20 Nahant 503 35 7.0%
21 Wendell 87 6 6.9%
22 Abington 921 59 6.4%
23 Westfield State College 94 6 6.4%
24 Hingham 1,578 98 6.2%
25 Sterling 743 45 6.1%
26 Marion 243 14 5.8%
27 Athol 464 26 5.6%
27 Bourne 696 39 5.6%
29 Dunstable 652 36 5.5%
30 Mattapoisett 602 33 5.5%
31 Swampscott 652 35 5.4%
32 New Bedford 4,730 249 5.3%
33 Rochester 418 22 5.3%
34 Salisbury 1,394 72 5.2%
35 Scituate 318 16 5.0%
36 Orange 279 14 5.0%
37 Oxford 659 33 5.0%
38 State Fire Marshal's Office 20 1 5.0%
39 Pembroke 483 24 5.0%
40 Dighton 205 10 4.9%
41 Georgetown 433 21 4.8%
42 Wrentham 887 42 4.7%
43 Methuen 2,476 117 4.7%
44 Bridgewater State College 233 11 4.7%
45 Kingston 503 23 4.6%
46 Norton 760 34 4.5%
47 Rowley 736 32 4.3%
48 Spencer 1,050 45 4.3%
49 West Bridgewater 2,074 88 4.2%
50 Mashpee 855 36 4.2%
50 Montague 380 16 4.2%
52 Peru 24 1 4.2%
53 Chesterfield 217 9 4.1%
54 Essex 579 24 4.1%
55 Adams 462 19 4.1%
56 West Tisbury 245 10 4.1%
57 Goshen 174 7 4.0%
58 Granville 51 2 3.9%
59 Haverhill 2,585 100 3.9%
60 Brockton 9,268 355 3.8%
61 Amesbury 2,468 94 3.8%
62 Tisbury 579 22 3.8%
63 Braintree 2,188 83 3.8%
64 Bernardston 159 6 3.8%
65 Winchester 717 27 3.8%
66 Sutton 801 30 3.7%
67 Conway 82 3 3.7%
68 Groveland 1,231 44 3.6%
69 Mansfield 1,506 53 3.5%
70 Hubbardston 570 20 3.5%
71 Grafton 403 14 3.5%
72 Halifax 433 15 3.5%
73 Southampton 462 16 3.5%
74 Quincy 2,061 71 3.4%
75 Southborough 880 30 3.4%
76 Holland 178 6 3.4%
77 Merrimac 303 10 3.3%
78 Townsend 970 32 3.3%
79 Gloucester 1,122 37 3.3%
80 Reading 771 25 3.2%
81 Hopkinton 1,242 40 3.2%
82 Dalton 439 14 3.2%
83 Rockport 189 6 3.2%
84 Holyoke 3,350 105 3.1%
85 Ipswich 483 15 3.1%
86 Webster 748 23 3.1%
87 Univ Of Mass Lowell 132 4 3.0%
88 Lunenburg 497 15 3.0%
89 Rehoboth 698 21 3.0%
90 Williamstown 635 19 3.0%
91 Dartmouth 1,209 36 3.0%
92 Marshfield 1,428 42 2.9%
92 Provincetown 374 11 2.9%
94 Hanover 1,675 49 2.9%
95 Foxborough 514 15 2.9%
96 Northampton 2,301 66 2.9%
97 Stoneham 464 13 2.8%
98 Wareham 1,692 47 2.8%
99 Warren 182 5 2.7%
100 Fairhaven 991 27 2.7%
101 Malden 2,003 52 2.6%
102 Lee 732 19 2.6%
103 Carlisle 395 10 2.5%
104 Hull 1,112 28 2.5%
105 Groton 517 13 2.5%
106 South Hadley 742 18 2.4%
107 Harvard 291 7 2.4%
108 Hampden 548 13 2.4%
109 Westminster 1,016 24 2.4%
110 Southbridge 1,314 31 2.4%
111 Berkley 386 9 2.3%
112 Acushnet 480 11 2.3%
113 Pepperell 657 15 2.3%
114 Weymouth 3,948 87 2.2%
115 Hanson 1,148 25 2.2%
116 Westport 1,107 24 2.2%
117 Acton 1,385 30 2.2%
117 Millville 277 6 2.2%
119 Gardner 1,436 31 2.2%
120 Shirley 418 9 2.2%
121 Ashland 655 14 2.1%
122 Bellingham 1,716 36 2.1%
122 Hatfield 286 6 2.1%
124 Sturbridge 2,289 48 2.1%
124 Wakefield 763 16 2.1%
126 Canton 1,766 37 2.1%
127 Hopedale 574 12 2.1%
128 Barnstable 5,225 108 2.1%
129 Stow 341 7 2.1%
130 Wellfleet 1,136 23 2.0%
131 Lawrence 8,197 165 2.0%
132 Northbridge 751 15 2.0%
133 Franklin 1,789 35 2.0%
134 Raynham 717 14 2.0%
135 Truro 719 14 1.9%
136 West Newbury 567 11 1.9%
137 Becket 104 2 1.9%
138 Plymouth 2,396 46 1.9%
139 Granby 522 10 1.9%
140 Wilbraham 1,413 27 1.9%
141 West Brookfield 579 11 1.9%
142 Dudley 529 10 1.9%
143 Medford 2,925 55 1.9%
144 Melrose 856 16 1.9%
145 Paxton 593 11 1.9%
146 B&M Railroad Police Dept. 54 1 1.9%
147 Dennis 1,899 35 1.8%
148 Andover 3,336 61 1.8%
149 Swansea 1,709 31 1.8%
150 Lincoln 1,326 24 1.8%
151 Brimfield 387 7 1.8%
152 Cummington 112 2 1.8%
153 Bridgewater 2,418 43 1.8%
154 North Attleborough 3,158 56 1.8%
155 Barre 226 4 1.8%
156 Greenfield 1,484 26 1.8%
157 Chicopee 3,573 62 1.7%
158 Plainville 636 11 1.7%
159 Maynard 1,572 27 1.7%
160 Holden 1,123 19 1.7%
161 Nantucket 597 10 1.7%
162 Statewide total 764,066 12,710 1.7%
163 MBTA Police Dept. 782 13 1.7%
164 Windsor 121 2 1.7%
165 Chelmsford 1,575 26 1.7%
166 Stoughton 2,012 33 1.6%
167 Boxborough 675 11 1.6%
168 Taunton 2,395 39 1.6%
169 Yarmouth 2,028 33 1.6%
170 Brookfield 863 14 1.6%
171 State Police 227,790 3,678 1.6%
172 Charlton 1,373 22 1.6%
173 Walpole 1,005 16 1.6%
174 Massasoit Comm. College 254 4 1.6%
175 Wenham 448 7 1.6%
176 Rutland 322 5 1.6%
177 Norwell 715 11 1.5%
178 Shrewsbury 3,428 52 1.5%
179 Auburn 2,587 39 1.5%
180 East Brookfield 400 6 1.5%
181 Bolton 401 6 1.5%
182 Hamilton 535 8 1.5%
183 Charlemont 201 3 1.5%
184 Cambridge 6,085 90 1.5%
185 Wayland 543 8 1.5%
186 Upton 952 14 1.5%
187 Manchester-by-the-Sea 547 8 1.5%
188 West Boylston 965 14 1.5%
189 Revere 2,967 43 1.4%
190 Bedford 1,677 24 1.4%
191 North Brookfield 215 3 1.4%
192 Wilmington 2,728 38 1.4%
193 Westford 1,653 23 1.4%
194 Freetown 1,385 19 1.4%
195 Fitchburg 2,348 32 1.4%
196 Easton 958 13 1.4%
197 Sheffield 517 7 1.4%
198 Dracut 966 13 1.3%
199 Milford 973 13 1.3%
200 Ashby 376 5 1.3%
201 Worcester County Sheriff 151 2 1.3%
202 Berlin 455 6 1.3%
203 Randolph 2,354 31 1.3%
204 Dover 304 4 1.3%
205 Lowell 6,959 90 1.3%
206 Uxbridge 464 6 1.3%
207 East Longmeadow 548 7 1.3%
208 Middleton 1,097 14 1.3%
209 Needham 941 12 1.3%
210 Oak Bluffs 1,336 17 1.3%
211 Framingham 3,873 49 1.3%
212 Worthington 80 1 1.3%
213 Hudson 1,129 14 1.2%
214 Somerville 4,052 50 1.2%
215 Woburn 5,255 64 1.2%
216 Medway 824 10 1.2%
217 Billerica 2,495 30 1.2%
218 Peabody 5,581 67 1.2%
219 Rockland 1,500 18 1.2%
220 Whitman 2,667 32 1.2%
221 Arlington 1,588 19 1.2%
222 Deerfield 506 6 1.2%
223 Ware 931 11 1.2%
224 Clinton 426 5 1.2%
225 Sherborn 1,128 13 1.2%
226 Concord 2,351 27 1.1%
227 Attleboro 4,575 52 1.1%
228 Sunderland 445 5 1.1%
228 Williamsburg 712 8 1.1%
230 Saugus 1,539 17 1.1%
231 Lakeville 635 7 1.1%
232 Springfield 13,624 150 1.1%
233 Somerset 1,474 16 1.1%
234 Westborough 1,847 20 1.1%
235 Hadley 651 7 1.1%
236 Hardwick 188 2 1.1%
237 Ayer 1,325 14 1.1%
238 Tyngsborough 953 10 1.0%
239 Leominster 2,108 22 1.0%
240 North Andover 2,521 26 1.0%
241 Lynn 10,598 109 1.0%
242 Belchertown 879 9 1.0%
243 Mendon 1,699 17 1.0%
244 Brookline 7,902 78 1.0%
245 Great Barrington 525 5 1.0%
246 Milton 1,373 13 0.9%
247 Chelsea 4,626 42 0.9%
248 Chatham 665 6 0.9%
249 Lanesborough 222 2 0.9%
250 Winthrop 668 6 0.9%
251 Norfolk 446 4 0.9%
252 Agawam 1,118 10 0.9%
253 Falmouth 2,805 25 0.9%
254 Boston 72,625 644 0.9%
255 Boylston 565 5 0.9%
256 Fall River 10,140 89 0.9%
257 Waltham 4,250 37 0.9%
258 Harwich 1,035 9 0.9%
259 Westfield 2,902 25 0.9%
260 Beverly 2,007 17 0.8%
261 Environmental Police 1,188 10 0.8%
262 Oakham 119 1 0.8%
263 Avon 836 7 0.8%
264 Holbrook 360 3 0.8%
265 Everett 5,568 46 0.8%
266 Easthampton 984 8 0.8%
267 Southwick 371 3 0.8%
268 Lexington 1,741 14 0.8%
269 Middleborough 1,874 15 0.8%
270 Pittsfield 2,139 17 0.8%
271 Holliston 759 6 0.8%
272 Univ Of Mass Amherst 1,024 8 0.8%
273 Monson 646 5 0.8%
274 Marlborough 5,180 40 0.8%
275 Belmont 2,600 20 0.8%
276 Dedham 2,731 21 0.8%
277 Buckland 132 1 0.8%
277 Newton 5,016 38 0.8%
279 Worcester 11,786 89 0.8%
280 Marblehead 687 5 0.7%
281 Salem 3,715 27 0.7%
282 Duxbury 830 6 0.7%
283 Topsfield 1,131 8 0.7%
284 West Springfield 1,287 9 0.7%
285 Ashburnham 573 4 0.7%
286 Seekonk 2,171 15 0.7%
287 Longmeadow 737 5 0.7%
288 Danvers 3,046 20 0.7%
289 Littleton 1,378 9 0.7%
290 Newburyport 1,851 12 0.6%
291 Hinsdale 316 2 0.6%
291 Lynnfield 316 2 0.6%
293 Erving 482 3 0.6%
294 Univ Of Mass Boston 161 1 0.6%
295 Sharon 843 5 0.6%
296 Newbury 675 4 0.6%
297 Ashfield 170 1 0.6%
298 Templeton 532 3 0.6%
299 Millbury 544 3 0.6%
300 Northborough 1,090 6 0.6%
301 East Bridgewater 1,661 9 0.5%
302 Sudbury 1,309 7 0.5%
303 Wellesley 3,237 17 0.5%
304 Blackstone 1,163 6 0.5%
305 Westhampton 199 1 0.5%
306 Cohasset 798 4 0.5%
307 Princeton 401 2 0.5%
308 Eastham 1,608 8 0.5%
309 Ludlow 607 3 0.5%
310 Lenox 1,455 7 0.5%
311 Cheshire 209 1 0.5%
312 Douglas 906 4 0.4%
313 Norwood 2,141 9 0.4%
314 Burlington 3,597 15 0.4%
315 Shelburne 246 1 0.4%
316 Northfield 781 3 0.4%
317 Boxford 263 1 0.4%
318 Natick 4,849 17 0.4%
319 New Salem 291 1 0.3%
320 Palmer 1,504 5 0.3%
321 Westwood 351 1 0.3%
322 Millis 720 2 0.3%
323 Amherst 1,385 3 0.2%
324 Weston 1,764 3 0.2%
325 Lancaster 594 1 0.2%
326 Egremont 668 1 0.1%
327 Watertown 8,638 12 0.1%
328 AMTRAK Police Dept. 1 0 0.0%
328 Aquinnah 61 0 0.0%
328 Blandford 40 0 0.0%
328 Bunker Hill Comm College 94 0 0.0%
328 Clarksburg 113 0 0.0%
328 Colrain 68 0 0.0%
328 CSX Police Dept. 1 0 0.0%
328 Fitchburg State College 1 0 0.0%
328 Gill 640 0 0.0%
328 Heath 2 0 0.0%
328 Leverett 354 0 0.0%
328 Leyden 83 0 0.0%
328 Massachusetts Maritime Police 1 0 0.0%
328 Medfield 187 0 0.0%
328 Metro Police Lower Basin Dist. 24 0 0.0%
328 Monroe 1 0 0.0%
328 Monterey 286 0 0.0%
328 Mt Wachusett Comm. College 2 0 0.0%
328 New Braintree 65 0 0.0%
328 New Marlborough 7 0 0.0%
328 Otis 89 0 0.0%
328 Pelham 712 0 0.0%
328 Phillipston 199 0 0.0%
328 Plainfield 6 0 0.0%
328 Providence And Worcester Police 1 0 0.0%
328 Rowe 6 0 0.0%
328 Sandisfield 3 0 0.0%
328 Savoy 3 0 0.0%
328 Shutesbury 119 0 0.0%
328 Somerville Housing Authority 12 0 0.0%
328 Stockbridge 98 0 0.0%
328 Templeton Developmental Center 2 0 0.0%
328 Tolland 10 0 0.0%
328 Tufts University 8 0 0.0%
328 Tyringham 32 0 0.0%
328 Walter E. Ferneld State School 6 0 0.0%
328 Warwick 23 0 0.0%
328 Washington 24 0 0.0%
328 West Stockbridge 374 0 0.0%
328 Western New England College 1 0 0.0%
328 Whately 701 0 0.0%
  Statewide total 764,064 12,709 1.7%

Source: Boston Globe analysis of all traffic tickets in Massachusetts, April 2001 through November 2002.

Boston Globe/Bill Dedman, dedman@globe.com


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