According to the Daily Dot, an independently owned news website based out of Austin, Texas, USA Today has teamed up with "the Invisible Institute—a Chicago-based journalism organization that also runs Citizens Police Data Project, which records the city’s police brutality instances," to launch a database that "includes records of 85,000 cops who have been investigated for misconduct over the past decade."
The project spent a year collecting data on police misconduct that "gets shoved under the rug" accourding to USA Today.
While the article starts out making it sound like this is a really good thing, it has its flaws. First off, they focus on the Baltimore and Chicago Police departments, which are notorious for police corruption. They also begin the article wriiting as if this database includes only excessive use of force of other job-related incidences - it isn’t until further down in the article they mention that "police crimes include drunk driving, domestic violence, child molestation, and tampering with evidence."
How is it fair to let what an officer does in their personal life affect their professional one? Especially when it’s collected into a database that is presented to the public as a collection of "police abuses"?
The article also mentions that most of the time, excesive use of force is used against African Americans. This is a statement taken out of context, as we know from previous blogs and articles that African Americans commit most crimes, even though they make up less of the population than whites. This statistic often gets skewed to make it look like officers go out of their way to pester, arrest, and ’abuse’ African Americans.
Better yet, the Citizens Police Data Project has collected this info just as anyone else could - through city websites and open court records -- and and posts this disclaimer on their website: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data - instead we commit ourselves to being honest about flaws, transparent in our publishing process, and welcoming of critiques."
In the end, all you have is just another collection of ’data’ put together by citizens (most likely anti-cop in character) that is going to be used against our police officers.
The main point to gather out of all of this? Be critical of any information presented to you about police officers, especially when it throws around numbers and statistics. Research the sources. Our officers need all the help they can get right now.