CASTRO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE LAW ENFORCEMENT TRANSPARENCY AND IMPROVE POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced legislation to bring transparency and accountability to law enforcement agencies across the nation with the aim of reducing the use of force by and against police officers. The Police Reporting of Information, Data and Evidence (PRIDE) Act would require states to report to the U.S. Justice Department any incident during which a civilian is shot or seriously injured by a law enforcement officer, and any incident during which a law enforcement officer is shot or seriously injured by a civilian. Currently, there are four separate voluntary incident reporting programs overseen by different federal agencies, resulting in incomplete data regarding the use of force by and against law enforcement. Notably, the federal government does not mandate reporting of incidents during which law enforcement officers are seriously injured or killed.
"Too often these days we hear tragic news reports of police officers and civilians violently clashing,"? said Rep. Castro. "This issue is personal for Texans - recent troubling incidents in San Antonio and Houston highlight the problem confronting our nation. If we hope to meaningfully reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur in law enforcement's interactions with the public, we need to know the full extent of the problem. Uniform, comprehensive reporting will provide objective transparency that makes real progress possible."
The PRIDE Act requires that states' incident reports to the Department of Justice include, at minimum, the following information:
- The gender, race, ethnicity, and age of each individual who was shot, injured, or killed;
- The date, time, and location of the incident;
- The number of officers involved in the incident;
- The number of civilians involved in the incident;
- Whether the civilian was armed with a weapon; and
- The type of force used against the officer, the civilian, or both, including the types of weapons used.
There is precedent at the state level for implementing this type of reporting system. In May of this year, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that requires state law enforcement agencies to report all officer-involved injuries or deaths resulting from a firearm to the state's attorney general. Within five days of receiving incident reports, the attorney general must report the information online and include the data in an annual report.
"Incomplete information and conflicting data only impede our efforts to heal community-police relations,"? added Rep. Castro. "With thorough, accurate records, we can craft informed policies that save officer and civilian lives."
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the PRIDE Act in the U.S. Senate in June 2015.
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