The disonant (or maybe permissive) Department of Justice federal oversight of local law enforcement agencies seems to rival a tragicomedy versions of “who’s on first?” Or more impolitely, the boondoggle.
The decades-long sharing of military equipment with police ( 1033 program since 1991) has taken on a newer life of its own via in-depth journalism spearheaded by the Washington Post’s Radley Balko. In terms of effect of all this reported “sharing” has been some police departments returning their MRAP armored vehicles and anti-tank weapons as not being in their wheel house of “community policing.”
What’s similar between the non-compliance of federal law “asking for voluntary” shooting reports and those also receiving militarized supplies (some is non-lethal) is that in the first case there’s no DOJ de-funding reponse to the non-reporting agencies and in the second, there is no DOJ action discontinuing other gifting. And at another level, the police community doesn’t globally track what all their cop armories contain. Non-adjacent departments probably don’t know what the other cops’ capabilities are. This is what makes pro-“militarizing” police advocates a bit less than tactical professionals.
Back to the point. New federal law demands punishment for this non-compliance.
The following links mesh in-custody deaths AND police “homicides” with the pertinent federal reporting laws. 2016 police civilian shooting deaths are reported at 681. In a stat counter-point (but not necessarily linked), 2016 police in-line-of-duty deaths are reported here to be 85 (reported as up 78 percent from 2015; in 1973 it was 153) ) or here at 38.
From the Daily Beast: “States Hid Cop Killings from Feds and Violated the Law.”
From the ABA Journal: “States not reporting deaths in police custody are still getting DOJ funds.”
Several law enforcement agencies are not reporting deaths in custody to a Justice Department program, despite the risk of losing federal funding. [excerpt below].
“The Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 requires that states submit the name, age, race, sex, along with the circumstance of the death for each decedent, theDaily Beast reports. The program relies on voluntary reporting, and it hasn’t accounted for approximately half of law enforcement homicides, the Daily Beast reports.”