Shortly after all the Baltimore policemen involved in the events surrounding the death of Freddie Gray were cleared of wrongdoing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a blistering 164-page report on the Baltimore PD's practices. Much like the report DOJ issued on the Ferguson, MO police department, there are some serious, systematic wrong-doings with how Baltimore polices communities of color - including the excessive use of force and unlawful stops. In the report's many recommendations which have been agreed to by the BPD, there will be an overhaul of how data is collected and analyzed to monitor police activity. This agreement comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s announcement last year of a "Police Data Initiative" that will put reporting standards in place for 53 jurisdictions across the country. Amidst the heated, divisive rhetoric about policing in America - data collection is a way forward. We have to know the problem before we can fix the problem. Data - if collected and analyzed transparently - can help protect policeman from baseless accusations and can help communities trust the police sworn to protect them by enabling greater accountability. This is an important moment in the raging rhetorical war about policing in America, let's hope it's implemented swiftly.

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