Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry
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Commanding attention: public release of police misconduct records

This study will likely resonate.

Lots of research efforts focus on police practices and performance across the United States. Collectively speaking, there are unquestionably hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of pages devoted to that subject matter online and on library shelves.

Reporters from a national media publication are now adding a few more.

OK, a lot more. In fact, a tandem team of researchers from USA Today and a nonprofit group have reportedly just concluded a year-plus effort “creating the biggest collection of police misconduct records” ever compiled in the country.

Police wrongdoing is candidly a sensitive subject, especially in today’s social/political climate and amid what USA Today notes is “a nationwide debate over law enforcement tactics.”

Most Americans broadly view law enforcers as duly conscientious officials making good-faith efforts to consistently do the right thing in what is often a stressful environment. There are bad apples, though, and the above-cited report -- verifiably vetted and voluminous -- clearly reveals a troubling dimension regarding their numbers and activities.

Consider this: Data culled from thousands of police departments, prosecutors, state agencies and other entities points to more than 200,000 alleged acts of misconduct over the past decade. More than 30,000 officers in 44 states were banned from their profession over that same measuring period,

Similarly dismal numbers and statistics spanning a broad dimension of wrongdoing are replete in the study. There are many thousands of cases involving witness and evidence tampering, officers’ sexual misconduct and use of excessive force, and additional matters.

Researchers point to a public-service element underscoring their work. They say that spotlighting the magnitude of the problem and making relevant findings widely accessible will promote improvements and keep bad actors out of the policing profession.

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