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Want to Reduce Fatal Police Shootings? This Policy Makes a Big Difference.

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Cleveland State University

Originally published as "Want to reduce fatal police shootings? This policy makes a big difference." with Jay T. Jennings, Washington Post, March 14, 2017.

In each of the past two years, police shootings killed nearly 1,000 people, according to The Washington Post’s Fatal Force project. The Black Lives Matter movement and smartphone videos of some of these deaths turned such shootings into an issue so prominent that, under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department investigated.

As a result, according to a January report by Reuters, 14 separate city police departments are now under federal consent decrees that require them to reform their use of force, profiling, recruitment, training and oversight.

Our research suggests that police agencies serious about reform might consider this: require police officers to file a report whenever they point a gun at someone but do not fire.