Hundreds of police departments in Texas and California failed to report officer-involved shooting deaths as required by law in the past decade, a study found, reports the Associated Press. Research by Texas State University in San Marcos found registries created by the two states to report all in-custody deaths did not list about 220 use-of-force fatalities in Texas and 440 in California from 2005-2015. The study was originally reported by the Houston Chronicle.
“We’re not really blaming anyone – this is an incredibly complex problem,” said Howard Williams, one of the Texas State University professors who conducted the study. He said it’s hard to change policy, improve training, or purchase new equipment “when you simply lack the data to even know what’s going on.” Texas and California are the only states to require reporting of all in-custody deaths, including jail deaths and officer-involved shootings. In each state, the attorney general’s office collects reports. Failing to report a death at the hands of a police officer is a misdemeanor in Texas; there is no penalty in California.