Tags: FBI | James Comey | police shootings | data

Report: FBI to Remedy Lack of Data On Police Shootings

By    |   Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 04:06 PM

The police shooting that took place in North Charleston, South Carolina has highlighted once again the issue of police use-of-force policies as well as the limited amount of data available on such situations.

However, The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a plan to correct that problem.

FBI Director James Comey recently lamented this fact in a speech at Georgetown University in February following the deaths of black teenager Michael Brown and Staten Island man Eric Garner, when he asked for such information.

"I wanted to see trends. I wanted to see information," Comey said. "They couldn't give it to me, and it wasn't their fault. Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistently reported to us ... because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore, in the aggregate, unreliable."

South Carolina mandates that such data is reported, which revealed that in North Charleston there have been four men killed by police officers since 1985 in what were categorized at "justifiable homicides."

Los Angeles also tracks use-of-force situations to the Police Commission, which is more commonly done in large cities, but Michael Maltz, criminology professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the Times that such reporting is lacking at smaller departments.

Comey said that he wants to see this change.

"I intend for the FBI to be a leader in urging departments around this country to give us the facts we need for an informed discussion, the facts all of us need to help us make sound policy and sound decisions," he said.

To accomplish that goal, the FBI is going to expand the National Incident Based Reporting System, which includes more detailed information and is already in use at about one-third of local law enforcement departments across the country.

Steven Fischer, spokesman for the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services, told the Times that "it's much richer data."

He explained that the FBI is getting police departments on board by telling them that "it helps them with transparency and accountability."

Fischer also said that there will be a vote by the FBI board sometime this year to decide if the agency will collect data on all shootings involving a police officer, even if they aren't fatal.

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The police shooting that took place in North Charleston, South Carolina has highlighted once again the issue of police use-of-force policies as well as the limited amount of data available on such situations.
FBI, James Comey, police shootings, data
377
2015-06-09
Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 04:06 PM
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