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National Use-of-Force Data Collection

 

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.

What data will be collected about use of force?

The collection and reporting of use-of-force data will include any use of force that results in the death or serious bodily injury of a person, as well as when a law enforcement officer discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a person. The definition of serious bodily injury will be based, in part, upon the 18 U.S.C. 2246 (4). The term “‘serious bodily injury’ means bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.” The use-of-force data collection will include incident information, subject information, and officer information.

Role of the FBI

With the input of its law enforcement partners, the FBI is developing a repository for use-of-force information and will periodically release statistics to the public. The Bureau will publish descriptive information on trends and characteristics of the data.

Role of law enforcement agencies

The FBI has received positive feedback from the law enforcement community about implementing a national use-of-force data collection. Many agencies already publish use-of-force statistics for their constituents and have made transparency a priority in their communities.

Leep sealFor the national data collection, each agency will be responsible for reporting information for their own officers connected to incidents that meet the criteria of the data collection. Submission of data is entirely voluntary. Most law enforcement agencies in the United States already report various types of law enforcement data to the FBI, either directly or through their state agencies. Part of the plan for the use-of-force data collection includes an opportunity for agencies to report use-of-force incidents electronically through a web application in the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP).

LEEP accounts are available to personnel affiliated with the criminal justice system, intelligence community, and the armed forces. To apply for a LEEP account, go to the LEEP page and click on the Apply for an Account button on the right to complete the online application. If your agency is a participating Identity Provider (IdP), you can access LEEP through your agency network. More on LEEP

Key Events in the Development of a National Use-of-Force Data Collection

February 12, 2015: In a speech at Georgetown University, FBI Director James B. Comey stated that the FBI would lead efforts to establish a reliable system for law enforcement to report information on use-of-force incidents.

June 3, 2015: The Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board (APB) of the FBI recommended the FBI develop a new data collection on fatal and nonfatal officer-involved shootings.

September 18, 2015: Representatives from major law enforcement organizations met and proposed an expansion to the FBI’s efforts to include uses of force that result in serious bodily injury.

December 3, 2015: The APB approved a series of motions to establish a new data collection on law enforcement use of force. February 9, 2016 – FBI Director Comey signed the APB recommendations.

January 27, 2016: The National Use-of-Force Collection Task Force, comprised of law enforcement leaders from across the United States, convened for the first in a series of meetings.

About the National Use-of-Force Data Collection Task Force

National organizations and other law enforcement representatives who have partnered with the FBI to develop the National Use-of-Force Data Collection Task Force include:

  • Local, tribal, and federal agency representatives
  • Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
  • Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Major Cities Chiefs Association
  • Major County Sheriffs’ Association
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
  • National Sheriffs’ Association
  • Police Executive Research Forum

Representatives have been involved in many hours of discussions and decision making. They have been instrumental in conceiving reporting requirements, data elements, and publication concepts. Other entities that have been involved include the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Frequently Asked Questions About the National Use-of-Force Data Collection

  • What is the scope of use-of-force incidents covered by this collection?
    This collection includes actions by a law enforcement officer as a response to resistance that results in the death or serious bodily injury of a person or when a law enforcement officer, in the absence of death or serious bodily injury, discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a person. Detailed information about the incidents and specific information to be collected is available here.

  • Who will contribute data to this collection?
    Participation is open to all local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement and investigative agencies in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Each law enforcement agency will be responsible for reporting information for its own officers connected to incidents that meet the criteria of the data collection.

  • Is it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to contribute to this data collection?
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has no legal authority to mandate reporting of any data to the UCR Program. The FBI is working closely with the major law enforcement agency organizations and the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Advisory Policy Board (APB), which is composed of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners, to obtain broad support and forge commitments from these members to report this critical information. National support is garnered through working partnerships with national law enforcement agencies as well. The National Use-of-Force Data Collection and community participation to report data will likely continue to evolve.

  • When will data collection begin?
    The plan at this time is to begin data collection in January 2017 and roll out collection capabilities to agencies on an ongoing basis. This approach will ensure information can be consumed and processed effectively to meet stringent data validation and quality requirements.

  • Is the National Use-of-Force Data Collection going to capture and report information about the people involved in use-of-force occurrences?
    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 surrounding the incidents. The data collected will focus on the type of 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. No names or personally identifiable information will be shared as part of this collection.

  • Will the data collection include the final disposition or adjudication of the incident?
    The National Use-of-Force Data Collection will not allow for the final disposition or adjudication of a use-of-force incident to be reported.

  • Are all the elements required?
    Yes, all data elements are required; however, “pending” can be an accepted response while an incident is under investigation. To ensure complete reporting, agencies will be asked to provide a “no incident” report as well to confirm that no use-of-force incident occurred in their respective jurisdiction during the reporting period.

  • What training will be available?
    Training will be developed to assist law enforcement agencies in the proper and complete reporting of use-of-force data. The FBI and the law enforcement community will work cooperatively to provide informational resources and tools to accomplish use-of-force data reporting.

  • What oversight will ensure the information is accurate and truthful?
    The FBI’s CJIS Division will coordinate with law enforcement agencies to prevent potential duplicate reporting in situations where multiple law enforcement agencies are present during an incident with a use of force that meets the criteria for this data collection. The FBI’s UCR Program will compile information to provide for a complete picture of incidents that involve multiple agencies involved in a use-of-force incident.

  • What is the FBI’s role in collecting and reporting use-of-force data?
    With the input of its law enforcement partners, the FBI is developing a repository for use-of-force information and will periodically release statistics to the public. The FBI will publish descriptive information on trends and characteristics of this data.

  • What is the role of law enforcement agencies in the collection and reporting of use-of-force data to the FBI?
    The law enforcement community has demonstrated commitment to implementing a National Use-of-Force Data Collection. Many agencies already publish use-of-force statistics to their constituents and have made transparency a priority in their communities. For the national data collection, each law enforcement agency will be responsible for reporting information for their own officers connected to incidents that meet the criteria of the data collection. Submission of data is entirely voluntary. Most law enforcement agencies in the United States already report various types of data to the FBI—either directly or via their state UCR programs. Part of the plan for the National Use-of-Force Data Collection includes an opportunity for agencies to report incidents directly to the FBI for inclusion in this data compilation.

  • When will information from this data collection be published and accessible to the public?
    Given the level of effort to create this new technical solution, as well as all the legal and security requirements that are necessary, it is anticipated that this data collection will begin no earlier than 2017. The first release of information will be after the conclusion of the initial six-month pilot study.  Subsequent releases of information to the public will occur on a regular basis of no less than two times a year.  It is important to note that the FBI has no legal authority to mandate reporting of any data to the UCR Program. The FBI has been working closely with the major law enforcement agency organizations and the CJIS Advisory Policy Board, which is composed of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners, to obtain their support and commitment and to encourage their members to report this critical information.

    The goal of the resulting statistics is to provide an aggregate view of the incidents reported and the officers, subjects, and circumstances surrounding the incidents for use in identifying trends and characteristics. The characteristics of single, specific use-of-force incidents should be addressed by the local agency.

  • Why is the FBI leading this initiative?
    In 2015, FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged that crime data reporting at that time was not collecting the right information to understand and analyze events including law enforcement use of force. Director Comey has stated the FBI’s commitment to lead efforts to establish a reliable system for law enforcement to report information on use-of-force incidents.

    The FBI’s UCR Program is empowered to collect and report information on law enforcement officers killed and assaulted, justifiable homicide, and crime data statistics. The FBI agreed to work with other organizations, including the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the law enforcement community, to gather and report data on officer-involved use-of-force incidents. Once the National Use-of-Force Data Collection is established, the FBI will continue coordination with these and other agencies and organizations to provide reliable, accurate, and timely information for analysis and informed conversations.