FBI To Collect National Data on Police Use of Force

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Photo by Dave Newman via Flickr

The FBI announced that it will start a National Use-of-Force Data Collection project on January 1.

While some law enforcement agencies and states have developed their own use-of-force data collections, “there has been no mechanism for collecting nationwide statistics related to use-of-force incidents,” the bureau says.

The FBI said the project was begun “at the request of major law enforcement organizations … in an effort to promote more informed conversations regarding law enforcement use of force in the United States.”

In 2016, then-FBI Director James  Comey told police chiefs that despite a wave of protests prompted by fatal police shootings of black people, “Americans actually have no idea” about how often police use force because nobody has collected enough data.

The goal is not to investigate specific cases, but “to offer a comprehensive view of the circumstances, subjects, and officers involved in such incidents nationwide,” the FBI said. It hopes that collection and dissemination of the data will inform the public and ultimately strengthen the nation’s confidence in law enforcement.”

As with all Uniform Crime Reporting programs, participation by local police is voluntary.

The FBI said the project is supported by a number of groups, including the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, Association of State UCR Programs, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum.

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