Senator Scott Reintroduces Bill to Improve Data Collection Around Officer-Related Shootings

Washington – In an effort to improve data collecting methods at local law enforcement agencies, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have reintroduced the Walter Scott Notification Act. The bill would require states that receive federal funds for their law enforcement program to properly document all relevant details surrounding an officer-related shooting that results in a civilian casualty.

“When it comes to tracking police shootings, we need a data system built for the 21st century,” Scott said. “I introduced this legislation with my good friend, Senator Grassley, in hopes of capturing more details and facts so that we can better address the issues that lead to officer-related shooting deaths. I believe this can help us keep both our officers and our communities safer.”

“Police officers put themselves into harm’s way for our safety every day, and anytime an officer uses deadly force is a tragedy. We don’t currently have a comprehensive system to learn more about these events so that we can better prevent them in the future. The data we collect under this legislation will be an invaluable resource for law enforcement, the public and for policymakers. The more we know about the circumstances around officer-related shootings, the safer we can make our communities for everyone,” Grassley said. “I am proud to partner with Senator Scott on such important legislation.”

Under the proposed legislation, states would be required to keep track of a number of data points, including name, race, description of event, and overall circumstances that led up to the weapon being discharged. A state that fails to comply with the prescribed requirements could be subject to a ten percent reduction in federal grant funds.

The legislation is named after Walter Scott, a South Carolina-native who was fatally shot by former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager on April 4, 2015. The incident received nationwide attention after video footage showed Slager shot Walter Scott in the back as he attempted to flee the scene following a traffic stop triggered by a broken brake light. Just over two years after the incident, Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights.