SPOTLITE includes any incident where police use firearms—including those with non-fatal outcomes—as well as any other use of force that results in a death.
The Systematic Policing Oversight Through Lethal-force Incident Tracking Environment (SPOTLITE) is a project of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Illinois. Since 2017, multiple SPOTLITE research teams involving professional research staff, faculty subject-matter experts, and student researchers have been working to develop better ways to capture highest-quality data about police uses of lethal force in the United States using transparent methods. SPOTLITE is the result of that collective effort.
SPOTLITE incident counts consider only instances when lethal force is used, and do not consider the number of individuals involved in those incidents. When more than one civilian is involved in a particular incident, the count of involved individuals will be higher than the count of incidents.
SPOTLITE reports only those incidents that can be confirmed with credible information from news reports or administrative records that have been produced by law enforcement agencies.
Confirmed SPOTLITE incidents will undercount the number of actual incidents because some incidents are not reported in the news, and administrative records from law enforcement agencies are unavailable for some incidents.
Numbers will change as we develop new information.
For more details on how the data were constructed, see the About the Data section of this website.
Infographic for the Incident Count Dashboard