Legitimacy of Law Enforcement

Legitimacy of Law Enforcement

otan / Shutterstock.com
otan / Shutterstock.com

More than a thousand Americans die in encounters with law enforcement every year. It is likely that thousands more are shot, wounded, or traumatized, but at present we do not know how many. We do not know how these encounters are distributed with respect to race, gender, or disability. There is little systematic data on what happens to officers or their communities after these events. As a result, it is unclear whether community reactions like protests, news coverage, or legal actions bring about lasting changes in policing, or just temporary ones. Lacking comprehensive, accurate data, it is difficult to identify policy reforms that reduce unnecessary uses of lethal force by police, rebuild community trust, and improve the safety of citizens and officers alike.

 

Since 2017, the Cline Center has been bringing together law enforcement experts, activists, and scholars to build a consensus on the design of an authoritative national database that would document police uses of lethal force and the associated community responses. Our team includes leadership from the Illinois Police Training Institute, the Illinois Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science and the National Center for State Courts. Leveraging the Cline Center’s expertise in using artificial intelligence to monitor global events, we are designing technologies and processes to identify news reports about police shootings and track community responses to these incidents.

 

When complete, this Cline Center program will help build a shared understanding of patterns in police uses of lethal force and will support the development of evidence-based policies that improve police legitimacy and reduce inappropriate uses of lethal force.