Wednesday, October 7, 2015

DOJ: Use-of-Force Data is Vital for Transparency and Accountability

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch called for national, consistent data on law enforcement interactions with the communities they serve, especially data collection on the use-of-force.  The Attorney General noted that the department has already taken steps to improve the accuracy and consistency of use-of-force data from law enforcement.
“The department’s position and the administration’s position has consistently been that we need to have national, consistent data,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “This information is useful because it helps us see trends, it helps us promote accountability and transparency,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “We’re also going further in developing standards for publishing information about deaths in custody as well, because transparency and accountability are helped by this kind of national data.”
Currently, federal authorities publish annual figures on the number of “justifiable homicides” by law enforcement.  But this reporting is voluntary and not all police departments participate, causing the figures to be incomplete.  That’s why the Justice Department and the Obama Administration are taking steps to work with law enforcement to improve the process.
“This data is not only vital – we are working closely with law enforcement to develop national consistent standards for collecting this kind of information,” Attorney General Lynch added.
The FBI recently announced that the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics (UCR) will begin to collect data on non-fatal shootings between law enforcement and civilians.
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