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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DOJ to require tracking of fatal police encounters under new system

Police agencies will be asked to submit one report this year and quarterly reports beginning next year.
By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced this week that it is rolling out a new program that requires law enforcement agencies and medical examiner’s offices to fill out forms tracking “arrest-related deaths” of civilians during police-citizen encounters.

According to the Guardian, the proposed system, which would cover 19,450 state and local law enforcement agencies and about 685 medical examiner’s or coroner’s offices, will require them to submit one report this year and quarterly reports beginning next year.
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According to the New York Times, the existing system, the Arrest-Related Deaths Program, is intended to be a census of different causes of death, including suicides, accidents, and deaths from natural causes. But critics believe that it does not provide accurate data about fatal police encounters because it relies on self-reporting by agencies.

“Because of concerns about variations in data collection methodology and coverage,” the Justice Department notice said, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has “developed and tested new methodologies for collecting data” aimed at enabling “accurate and comprehensive accounting of deaths that occur during the process of arrest,” the New York Times reports.

The notice did not make clear whether killings by federal law enforcement agents would be included in the new system.