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Arrest-Related Deaths Program Assessment: Technical Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
53 pages
Publication Series
This report presents the methodology and findings of an assessment of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS') Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program, which involved a national census of law enforcement homicides that occurred during the arrest process or an attempt to obtain custody by a State or local law enforcement agency in the United States.
The ARD program was implemented by BJS in 2003 as part of its Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) in response to the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act of 2000. This assessment of the ARD program was conducted by a private, independent body under a BJS-sponsored contract. The assessment addressed the coverage of the ARD program compared to the Supplementary Homicide reports (SHRs) maintained by the F3ederal Bureau of Investigation, as well as various aspects of the current program methodology, which relies on ARD data collected by the States. The ARD law enforcement homicides and SHR justifiable homicide files are similar, but some law enforcement homicides not classified as justifiable are not identified in the SHR. The assessment found that over the study period (2003 through 2009 and 2011, the ARD program captured, at best only 49 percent of all law enforcement homicides in the United States. This indicates that the current ARD program methodology does not constitute a census of all law enforcement homicides in the United States. The SHR was estimated to captured approximately 46 percent of law enforcement homicides. Thus, an estimated 28 percent of the law enforcement homicides in the United States are not captured by either system. The assessment concludes that if BJS is to measure law enforcement homicides or all manner of arrest-related deaths, changes must be made to the data collection methodology. 9 tables, 7 figures, 5 references, and 3 appendixes with supplementary information

Date Published: March 1, 2015