The FBI launched the National Use-of-Force Data Collection program in 2019, imploring police departments to submit details on every incident, not just fatal shootings. But the failure of local, state, and federal agencies to send their data to the FBI puts the program in jeopardy of being shut down next year without ever releasing a single statistic, a new report by the Government Accountability Office says.
The program was required to obtain data representing 60 percent of law enforcement officers, to meet a standard of quality set by the Office of Management and Budget, or else stop the effort by the end of 2022. In 2019, the data covered 44 percent of local, state, federal and tribal officers, and last year the total increased to 55 percent, according to the program’s website. So far this year, the data represents 57 percent of all officers, the FBI said Wednesday, the Washington Post reports.
“Due to insufficient participation from law enforcement agencies,” the GAO wrote, “the FBI faces risks that it may not meet the participation thresholds” established by OMB, “and therefore may never publish use of force incident data.”
The Justice Department said in its response to the report that “the FBI believes the agreed upon thresholds will be met to allow the data collection to continue, and is taking steps to increase participation in data collection efforts.” The response by Assistant Attorney General Lee J. Lofthus also said that Justice “sent a letter to federal law enforcement agencies encouraging their participation.”