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DoJ’s New Cop Killings Database Still Doesn’t Make Reporting Mandatory

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The Justice Department is finally answering the calls for a database of police killings -- a call which media outlets and activists have already answered. The problem is, departments reporting their kill numbers will still not be mandatory.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), will be in charge of the new database and there is a plan to do a little bit better than the FBI was previously doing by only counting those voluntarily submitted.

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They will now also be "surveying police departments, medical examiners' offices and investigative offices about the reports that it identifies from open source and using data from the multiple sources to obtain a more accurate factual account of each incident."

The tactic will be similar to what is used by existing databases, such as killedbypolice.net and The Guardian’s project, The Counted.  Both compile their databases from a variety of verified sources.

Now that the system will not be solely dependent on information provided voluntarily by police, it is likely to become significantly closer to the true numbers.

The FBI currently only tallies data on “justifiable homicides,” but since there seems to be a shortage of killer cops doing anything wrong in this country, the number likely won’t be too far off.

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In 2014, based exclusively off information provided by police departments, the FBI counted a total of 444 killings at the hands of police.

In comparison, Killed By Police has already logged 908 people killed by cops from January 1 until October 6, more than doubling what the FBI tracked for the throughout last year.

The new system is expected to "complete its methodology study by late 2015/early 2016 and then begin to stand up a national program on arrest related deaths."

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