'Embarrassing' Era Ending: FBI to Collect Cop Shooting Stats

Starting in 2017, DOJ will cull all police shootings, lethal or not
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2016 1:37 PM CDT
FBI to Start Gathering Cop Gun-Violence Data in 2017
A centralized data repository, coming soon.   (Getty Images)

For the past couple years, the Guardian and Washington Post have kept better data on US police shootings than any law enforcement agency—a fact FBI Director James Comey said last year was "embarrassing and ridiculous," per the Guardian. Now the government wants to remedy that, with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announcing Thursday the DOJ will start compiling self-reported data in 2017 from nearly 180,000 officers in US police departments and law enforcement agencies at the state and federal level, the Guardian reports. An online portal will be set up, and each department will be asked to enter each instance of police force used, whether or not it's lethal (a major difference from previous info-culling). This, then, includes whenever using force causes serious bodily harm or when a gun is even fired "at or in the direction of" a person. The program grew out of an Obama commission set up in 2014 to figure out how to salve tense police-community relations, per the New York Times.

Before the initiative tackles local police departments nationwide, it's going to analyze stats from larger law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the DEA, the US Marshals Service, and the ATF, USA Today reports. The Times notes some possible issues with the pilot program, including the fingers-crossed hope that law enforcement groups and police departments will actually log all incidents (the nonlethal reporting part of the program is voluntary), while civil rights activists want to know what financial repercussions will result if some don't report deaths while in custody, as per a 2014 law passed by Congress. "The initiatives we are announcing today are vital efforts toward increasing transparency and building trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve," Lynch said in a statement. (Here's how police violence affects 911 calls.)

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