In late October, Dallas police chief David Brown promised the public that his department would make data from the last 12 years of Dallas police officers shooting people readily available. On Tuesday, just as everyone was checking out for Thanksgiving, Brown made good on his promise. The department has posted the names of the officers involved, the person the officers shot or shot at, the weapons involved -- if any -- and the grand jury's decision with regard to the officer or officers involved.
If you care about the way Dallas is policed, and the way those doing the policing use force, it's really easy to lose track of time digging through everything. Even if that's not your thing, there are a few things from the data that are really striking.
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Dallas Police Department officers almost never get indicted for shooting suspects. There are 200 incidents -- and 67 suspect deaths -- recorded in the database. Two resulted in indictments for the officers involved, both occurring in 2013. It could be that DPD just uses deadly force appropriately, or maybe it's something else. It should be noted though, that both of the indictments have come after Brown implemented wide-ranging changes to the way DPD responds to shootings involving officers after a wave of shootings in 2012. 2014 has been a bad year for cop shootings. Dallas police officers have shot and killed 10 people so far in 2014, equaling 2012 for the most in any year contained within the data. In 2005, 2006 and 2011 only two people were shot and killed by police. Cops shoot and miss more often than you would think. In the previous two years, DPD officers have shot and missed at suspects in 15 separate incidents. The identities of two of the suspects officers shot are still unknown.