Target: U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman of Senate Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee
Goal: Require national data collection on police shootings
How many police shootings were there in the U.S. last year? No one really knows because that data isn’t collected. Robberies, rapes, drug arrests; this is all readily available to the public. But when a police officer shoots a member of the public, it isn’t deemed important enough to take note.
The FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics are the foremost authorities in the collection of crime data in the United States. This collection of data at the national level is paramount in the attempt to reduce crime across the country. Obviously reducing the number of police shootings, and allowing the public to know how many there are exactly, is not a priority of the Justice Department or the Federal Government in general.
It seems that, in this day and age, this is most certainly not a task that is beyond the capability of these organizations, nor is it an oversight. Instead, it is an attempt to keep information from the public that may upset them.
Congress would be responsible for mandating that national data on police shootings be collected. The police officers of the United States of America should be held under the same analytical microscope that the citizens they are sworn to protect are held under. National statistics on police shootings need to be collected and made available to the public by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Dear Senator Whitehouse,
It seems strange that the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics do not deem police shootings important enough for the collection of data. All crimes statistics are collected and made available to the public. A shooting by a police officer is as important to the public as a shooting of a police officer (of which data is most certainly collected and made available). Besides analyzing national statistics, how can shootings by police officers ever be analyzed and prevented?
I would hope that you or the Department of Justice would agree that the less shootings there are, the better; no matter who pulls the trigger. Not collecting this data seems to go along with the standard “Blue Wall of Silence” that the police tend to hide behind whenever they are accused of misconduct.
They have an air of superiority and an attitude that they are accountable to no one because they conduct the investigations and they put their lives on the line. Please use your position to fix this blatant disregard for transparency of law enforcement and start collecting national data on police shootings.
[Your Name Here]