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BJS Calls on Government at All Levels to Improve Policing Data

The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report on the state of policing data, with a list of recommended steps to give the public a clearer picture of what the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies do. Citing "significant gaps" such as the low participation rate by police departments in the FBI's replacement for the venerable Uniform Crime Reports, the National Incident-Based Reporting System, the BJS report called on local leaders to push their police departments "to collect detailed data, use it to design more equitable policies, and regularly share data to promote accountability." Tracking calls for service, searches and stops can inform efforts to improve community relations and help communities address unmet needs, such as mental health problems. "Improving the collection and sharing of data about policing and criminal justice practices is essential to enhancing public trust and public safety," the report states. "This report recommends actions across all levels of government and the broader police data ecosystem. It builds on leading federal, state, and local efforts to catalyze positive change in police data systems."


States should mandate and support better data collection and sharing, the report found. But the report cited the maze of data collection efforts by federal agencies — more than 100 collections of criminal justice data operated by 30 federal agencies — in supporting its call for a federal effort to streamline and standardize. Federal agencies should do more to help local law enforcement, especially smaller departments, select software that brings them into compliance with federal data requirements and requests. On June 6, from 1–2 p.m. ET, BJS will host a webinar to provide the first public briefing on the report. The webinar will feature a discussion about the report's findings and recommendations with BJS Director Alex Piquero and Denice Ross, U.S. deputy chief technology officer, co-chairs of the Criminal Justice Statistics Interagency Working Group.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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