Dozens of police chiefs meeting in Chicago this week said the fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last month had been a defining moment for law enforcement and pledged greater transparency over such incidents. Speaking to Reuters in a group interview, the heads of police of Dallas, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Elk Grove, Ca., Boston, and Toronto said that every police shooting since Ferguson has been followed by protests. They said they had agreed to quickly release details of such shootings, including names of officers involved, in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so.
The Chicago gathering was the first since Ferguson of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). “Information is moving so quickly that the void will be filled in with rumor if you are not willing or able to put out as much fact as you know about the incident,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown. PERF meetings do not result in binding policy on local police departments. There are risks in giving out information quickly, the chiefs said, such as tainting a grand jury, and police must be careful to note they are offering preliminary findings that may change as new details emerge.