The Federal Government To Launch Database Tracking Deadly Police Encounters
Beginning January 2019, the federal government will launch a database to track deadly police encounters or interactions with police that result in severe bodily harm.
According to the Associated Press, the purpose of the database is to allow for more transparency between the police and the public. For decades, many have believed if law enforcement was trigger happy especially when dealing with African-American men and minorities.
The responsibility to provide concrete information has mostly fallen on the shoulders of media outlets having to mine stats to report on shootings throughout the nation. The need for a database has also become urgent in the wake of high-profile killings of unarmed black men that have led to the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Yet despite the launch, police departments will not be required to report their information, which rubs some people the wrong way.
“It strikes me as sort of crazy that in a modern, First World country that prioritizes democratic freedoms the way that the United States does, we don’t have the basic information that we need to have to discuss a fairly important issue of officers taking civilians’ lives,” Seth Stoughton, an associate law professor at the University of South Carolina said.
There are an estimated 60 million encounters with police and the public every year and about 1,000 people have been killed as a result of these altercations. Rick Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association said that having this database will help put things into perspective for the public.
“The whole point of having a national database is so everyone can speak from a factual basis about what’s really happening. There’s so much news today about police use of force and yet there has never been a factual, established database against which to compare,” Myers said.