Elected Officials & Advocates Call for New York to Modernize Police Data Reporting & Transparency with Police-STAT
Advocates from Communities United for Police Reform were joined by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Senator Daniel Squadron – the sponsors of the Police Statistics and Transparency (Police-STAT) Act – to call for New York to modernize the reporting of data on policing activity throughout the state. The Police-STAT Act (A.7698/S.6001) would allow the state to capture and publicly report vital information about policing across the state.
“Transparency is important in all areas of government, but nowhere is it more important than in the creation of an effective and fair criminal justice system,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol. “When the stakes are this high, policy makers must be well informed in making our decisions and the public must be equally well informed so that they can hold us accountable for these decisions. This bill is truly fundamental in this regard as it will lead us to a government that is stronger and more just.”
“This is a common sense transparency reform that has the potential to improve our understanding of what's working and what isn't in our law enforcement system,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Understanding the numbers behind our law enforcement system is a critical component to making sure our laws are working for New Yorkers. I thank Assemblymember Lentol, Communities United for Police Reform, advocates, and my colleagues for their continued advocacy.”
“States across the nation were revealed to have deficient collection and reporting requirements on policing data, leaving policymakers and the public in the dark,” said Monifa Bandele of Communities United for Police Reform. “In New York, we can change that and set a national example by adopting comprehensive public reporting requirements for policing data. It's critical for policymakers and communities to know whether police policies and practices are effective and how New Yorkers are being impacted by them. Complete transparency is the only way our state can take a first step towards improving justice, policing and safety for all New Yorkers.”
Police-STAT would require the collection and public reporting of data on:
- The total number of arrests and tickets for violations and misdemeanors, and information on their disposition.
- The race, ethnicity, age, and sex of people who are charged with violations or misdemeanors.
- The total number of people who die during an interaction with police or in police custody, including demographic information.
- The geographic location of enforcement activity and arrest-related deaths
“Right now, we can’t be sure of the impact that policing activities have in our communities,” said Cessie Alfonso, a member of Citizen Action of New York and resident of Troy. “Accurate data on policing activities will help us to ensure that law enforcement organizations are promoting justice through their work.”
Federal law enforcement officials, criminal justice experts and communities across the nation have all acknowledged an enormous void in fully understanding the impact of policing activity, due to the lack of comprehensive data. There is no federal or state requirement to ensure such data is collected and publicly reported, meaning there is no public accounting of various types of police activity – from routine police practices to even the number of people who are killed during police encounters. Like states across the nation, New York lacks the data to provide policymakers, communities, law enforcement experts and the public with a comprehensive understanding of existing policing policies and practices – whether they are effective, who they are impacting and how, and how they can be improved.
“Our state government, as well as every other across the nation, has failed to collect data on policing activities and make it available to the public,” said Adilka Pimentel of Make the Road New York. “Transparency and accountability are needed to build the damaged trust between New Yorkers, the government and law enforcement, and the Police-STAT Act can begin to achieve this by requiring that policing data is collected and publicly reported. Basic data and information about arrests, tickets, deaths in police custody, and demographic information on the communities impacted by these policies should be available to the public and is essential to inform policy.”
Donna Lieberman, New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director, stated: “It’s time to open the books on policing. The STAT Act is a chance to uncover how New Yorkers of color are targeted for minor infractions, just like Eric Garner was, and those who die in police custody, like Sandra Bland. New Yorkers have learned through tragedy that transparency in policing is vital to safety, and their legislators cannot forget it.”
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing, co-chaired by former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Laurie Robinson, stressed the need for increasing transparency through the improved collection and public reporting of policing data. One of the task force’s recommendations was for law enforcement agencies “to collect, maintain, and analyze demographic data on all detentions (stops, frisks, searches, summonses, and arrests),” areas Police-STAT would explicitly address.
“As New York State contemplates much-needed police reforms, it becomes even more crucial that all police activity is transparent and accountable,” said Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director of VOCAL-NY. “By ensuring that every police department in New York State is reporting the full scope and demographics of police encounters - everything from summonses & tickets to deaths in police custody - we can keep in check any discrimination and bias that may be occurring.”
“Accountability and transparency in law enforcement is critical for communities to feel safe, especially communities of color, who experience mistrust for law enforcement the most,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “Trust needs to be repaired for law enforcement to be more effective and communities be truly protected and this legislation is an important step toward that goal.”