Police Use of Force Database Would Ensure a More Equitable Future

The past few months have been challenging for families all over the nation. We have learned about new terms, such as “flattening the curve” and social distancing. We have begun wearing masks in public and watched in horror as the numbers of COVID-19 victims rise. And, in the past three weeks, we have seen the best and the worst of people as we grieve not only the death of George Floyd and many other people of color across our nation, but also the actions of law enforcement in dealing with the grief and accompanying emotions. Recently, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education sent the early childhood community a letter that encapsulates how many of us are feeling.

One of the solutions being discussed is the development of a national and state police use of force database in order to track and support progress towards a more equitable future for the people of our nation. Why do we mention it here? Because measurement enables solutions. Measurement is a crucial first step in breaking the silence and healing our nation.

IECAM was developed to provide additional transparency in resource allocation regarding young children and families across Illinois. To that end, we want to provide several data resources below that provide transparency on some of the issues we are facing now. We encourage you to search out some of these resources yourself and educate yourself on current trends regarding what children and families are facing.

Available data:

  • Here is an online database of fatalities by police across the country.
  • The Washington Post hosts a database of every fatal shooting by an on-duty police officer in the United States since 2015.
  • The Chicago Tribune’s database on police shootings in Chicago 2010-15 breaks down those who were hit by police bullets, and the police who fired those shots, by race/ethnicity.

Additional resources:

  • The Racial Justice, Racial Equity, and Anti-Racism Reading List from the Harvard Kennedy School is a great starting place to find resources that speak to racial justice, racial equity, and anti-racism.
  • American Public Health Association has recommendations on addressing law enforcement misconduct as a public health issue.
  • “What the data say about police shootings” is a 2019 article in Nature magazine discussing how researchers have to wrestle with incomplete data to reach answers.