- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It will become easier to track the number of times police shoot civilians nationwide as the FBI begins to collect data on such shootings, FBI Director James Comey said Monday.

The FBI plans a new push to collect data from police departments across the country and will make public the information on police use-of-force, Mr. Comey announced with the release of the agency’s annual report on crime statistics.

The agency tracks a subset of police killings that it classifies as “justifiable homicides” by law enforcement, but reporting of the data by police departments is voluntary. The lack of complete data has made it difficult to gauge nationwide trends regarding fatal police use-of-force.

“We hope this information will become part of a balanced dialogue in communities and in the media — a dialogue that will help to dispel misperceptions, foster accountability, and promote transparency in how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve,” Mr. Comey wrote in a message accompanying the release of 2014 crime data on Monday.

Mr. Comey has previously complained about the lack of nationwide data following the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting in August 2014 that sparked protests against police brutality.

The lack of any national data on fatal police encounters has led media and activist groups keep their own tallies. The website “Killed by Police,” which documents media reports of police-involved shootings, counted a total of 890 fatal police shootings as of Monday for this year.

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