U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch wants the Department of Justice to collect better data on local law enforcement’s interactions with communities they protect and serve.
“The department has already taken steps to improve the accuracy and consistency of use-of-force data from law enforcement,” the attorney general announced in a recent press conference.
“This information is useful because it helps us see trends. It helps us promote accountability and transparency. 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.”
In previous years, law enforcement agencies weren’t required to publish annual reports on the number of justifiable homicides committed in their jurisdictions. However, in her statement, the Justice Department and the Obama Administration are now taking the necessary steps to force these departments 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,” she added.
|“The department has already taken steps
to improve the accuracy and consistency of
use-of-force data from law enforcement”|
Major policing agencies across the country are collaborating with the Bureau of Justice Statistic (BJS) and FBI to characterize the data to report the use-of-force and homicides by law enforcement officers, said Lynch.
To define requirements for the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics process, the attorney general wants evidence of police department consent decrees, collective agreements and information on non-fatal shootings between law enforcement and civilians sent to the FBI, Lynch announced.
Information about an incident comes from various open newspapers and media sources. The attorney general wants more accurate factual accounts of each incident from multiple sources. She acknowledged that BJS has developed better methods for identifying a death of a person in police custody. The agency will now investigate these matters by surveying police departments, medical examiners and investigative offices.
This methodology study will be completed by 2015/early 2016. BJS will then set up a national program on arrest related deaths, the announcement concluded.