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FBI will start tracking U.S. police shootings, uses of deadly force in '17

By Doug G. Ware
FBI will start tracking U.S. police shootings, uses of deadly force in '17
NYPD Police Officers try to contain a large group of protesters who raise their arms as they gather in Union Square in New York City on July 9, 2016. Protesters marched again Saturday in cities across the nation united against police brutality after the killing of two African-American men by police this week. The protests came two days after a sniper killed five police officers during a demonstration in Dallas. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation will launch a program to keep tabs on police officer-involved shootings and other uses of deadly force across the United States, beginning next year.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the pilot program Thursday.

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"Accurate and comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement is essential to an informed and productive discussion about community-police relations," U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. "The initiatives we are announcing today are vital efforts toward increasing transparency and building trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve."

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The new effort to track potentially lethal police tactics comes as President Barack Obama's administration tries to get a better understanding of why officer-involved shootings occur in U.S. communities.

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"The Department of Justice will continue to work alongside our local, state, tribal and federal partners to ensure that we put in place a system to collect data that is comprehensive, useful and responsive to the needs of the communities we serve," Lynch added.

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The FBI first unveiled details of the plan last week and posted it to the Federal Register for public comment.

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Justice officials noted four initiatives involved in the effort to collect such widespread data -- collecting the data, compliance and reporting for the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2014, and the White House's Police Data Initiative, an effort to facilitate transparency among police departments.

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The FBI began collecting nationwide data last year, the department said.

The new program, a direct result of Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, will be fully operational sometime next year.

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