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Union: New federal data-gathering requirements could cripple Phoenix-area police

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officers union said a new initiative by the Department of Justice to collect data on non-lethal use of force incidents will greatly hamper efforts to fight crime.

“The question citizens are going to have to ask themselves, after a point, is, ‘What do we want our police agencies doing? Do we want you going out policing, or do we just want you to be data collectors?'” Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President Ken Crane said.

Last week, the Department of Justice announced it would begin collecting information on the incidents from police departments. The FBI is still soliciting comments on its pilot program.

Crane said most police agencies don’t have an issue sharing information with either each other or the public.

“There’s not a problem with being transparent,” he said.

In 2013, Congress passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which required state and federal law enforcement agencies had to submit data to the department about civilians who died during interactions with law enforcement or in their custody.

The statute also authorized the attorney general to impose a financial penalty on non-compliant states.

However, Congress did not impose a similar reporting requirement for non-lethal uses of force by law enforcement. The Justice Department said it’s working to change that.

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