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Law enforcement nationwide track ‘use of force’ differently; Based on self-reporting by officers

DENVER – The use of force by law enforcement has no uniformity from one department to another, a Denver7 investigation has discovered.

Police departments and sheriff’s offices are not required to keep the same type of data on how their officers and deputies use force.

Denver7 and Scripps investigative units nationwide requested data from dozens of law enforcement agencies detailing what type of force is used and how often it is used.

The statistics are based on officers and deputies that self-report the force as required by department policies.

“It’s gotten to the point where it seems like the public sees a use of force and automatically assumes the officer is wrong,” said Denver Police Deputy Chief Matt Murray. “Officers are obligated to report a ‘use of force’ anytime they use force.”

The statistics provided to Denver7 are only as good as trusting that the officers and deputies admit and report each use of force.

“You should take very little from those statistics,” said Siddartha Rathod, Brandon’s attorney. “The statistics that you’re looking at are skewed in that they show only what the officers are reporting.”

Rathod’s law firm has successfully sued the city on behalf of multiple clients complaining of excessive force.

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