SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced today the launch of an online tool to provide information about police shootings of civilians and civilian shootings of officers statewide.
The tool will be part of a website called OpenJustice that was initiated by Harris last year to make criminal justice information more easily available to the public and government agencies.
The OpenJustice site already contains information about police shootings resulting in death, but it will now add information about shootings that caused injury.
Members of the public can use the site interactively to look at the data statewide, by county or by agency. They can also look at trends over time and compare the data from up to four agencies or counties at a time.
“The purpose is to make the information more meaningful, more accessible and easier to use,” said Harris spokeswoman Kristin Ford.
Harris said in a statement, “As a country, we must engage in an honest, transparent, and data-driven conversation about police use of force.”
“I am proud that California continues to lead the nation in the adoption of technology and data to improve our criminal justice system and keep our streets safe,” she said.
The added information about shooting injuries as well as deaths was mandated by A.B. 71, enacted by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brown last year.
It requires California law enforcement agencies to give the attorney general annual reports of incidents involving the shooting of a civilian by a peace officer and the shooting of a peace officer by a civilian, including incidents that result in injury.
Ford said that law enforcement agency administrators can now begin using the tool to report incidents as they happen, or they can wait until the end of the year.
The data will be published on the site on an annual basis, Ford said. The 2016 information is expected to be made available sometime in the spring, she said.
Harris said the online reporting tool will enable agencies to report information more quickly, less expensively and more accurately.
The tool was developed in six months with the help of 12 law enforcement agencies participating in a pilot program. Harris said that agencies using the tool between now and the end of the year are invited to submit any feedback they have on improving it.
“We are proud to participate in this very important program,” said Walnut Creek Police Chief Thomas Chaplin.
“We wholeheartedly support this approach to create additional transparency and ease of accessibility for use of force data,” he said.
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