After a year of growing calls for transparency in law enforcement, Texas has debuted a public statewide database of officer-involved shootings, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The effort remains imperfect — many Texas agencies likely don't know they are required to notify the attorney general every time an officer fires a weapon — but experts called it a huge step toward understanding how often and why officers use deadly force.
Texas law enforcement agencies are now required to report all shootings to the AG under legislation approved last session, House Bill 1036, which took effect on Sep. 1 and stipulated the database must go public by Oct. 1. It requires agencies to report the ages, genders and races of officers and suspects involved, as well as whether or not the suspect was armed and whether they were injured or killed. It also requires reporting of officers shot by suspects.
Agencies must report shootings 30 days after they happen, and the AG has five days to post reports online.