Based on a recent report by CBS News, the FBI is starting to collect data that tracks use-of-force incidents reported by law enforcement.
The data collection, which is a “first-of-its kind effort,” will include information about incidents during which someone was seriously injured or killed, and when an officer fired a gun. Local, state, tribal and federal jurisdiction can start submitting data on Jan. 1 of next year, and the collected information will be released twice a year. The goal of tracking this data is to help law enforcement identify areas of improvement in their work practices, and increase transparency to “strengthen trust between the community and law enforcement.”
Drawing from the FBI’s example, decision makers might start to see new trends in how data is collected and used. Aside from utilizing collected data as a mirror to see what best practices are working and which ones need tweaking, decision makers can use it to be more open with employees and customers alike. For example, similar data methods can help decision makers decipher how satisfied customers are with a service or product, and what they might need to change to generate even more satisfaction. Or, similarly, decision makers can use collected data to take the temperature of employees; if there’s high turnover, maybe adjustments are needed in work culture or the work environment.
However, while data can give decision makers a reading on how well their company is doing, the accessibility of that data can muddy things. In the example of the FBI’s new database, CBS News says that while data collection with help certain departments pinpoint areas of improvement, it will “likely prove problematic because participation is voluntary.” This is because “some jurisdictions may not track use-of-force incidents within their own departments at all, rendering them unable to participate, while others may be reluctant to report data that will be widely publicly available,” an officer told CBS News. Plus, collected data might be submitted incompletely or inaccurately.
As a result, decision makers might consider watching how things pan out with the FBI’s database next year. Keeping an eye on the news cycle of this project, or connecting with other companies using similar data collection methods can help determine if these are working, and/or worth pursuing.