June 15, 2017
The National Use-of-Force Data Collection
America Has Questions About Police Use of Force
Police-involved shootings and use of force have long been topics of national discussion, but a number of high-profile cases in which subjects died during arrests or while in police custody have heightened awareness of these incidents in recent years. However, the opportunity to analyze information related to use-of-force incidents and to have an informed dialogue is hindered by the lack of nationwide statistics. To address the topic, representatives from major law enforcement organizations have been working in collaboration with the FBI to develop a national use-of-force data collection.
With a national data collection, data users can view use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement from a nationwide perspective. The goal of the resulting statistics is not to offer insight into single use-of-force incidents but to provide an aggregate view of the incidents reported and the circumstances, subjects, and officers involved. The data collected will focus on information that is readily known and can be reported within the first few days after a use-of-force occurrence. Statistical reports will emphasize the collective nature of the data and will not assess whether the officers involved in use-of-force incidents acted lawfully or within the bounds of department policy.
Using Facts to Get Answers
The CDM Team, working with partners in the CJIS Division and across the police community, created the new National Use-of-Force Data Collection to provide more facts to the police and the public about use-of-force events. The program gathers data about incidents in which police officers use force that results in the death or serious bodily injury of a person and incidents of police officers discharging firearms at or in the direction of a person.
Data about use-of-force events will provide statistics that will help measure the issue, find areas of concern, allow more informed talks, and find better answers about police use of force. The study of these data will also help differentiate between isolated events and trends involving these incidents.
How It Works
The National Use-of-Force Data Collection will gather facts about the circumstances, subjects, and officers involved in use-of-force incidents. To protect privacy, the data collection will not include specifics about cases, disclose the names of people involved, or provide opinions on whether uses of force were justified. The system will gather details such as:
Date, time, and reason for contact
Age, sex, race, and ethnicity of subject(s)
Whether the officer(s) was on duty or injured