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After 'Embarrassing' Criticism, The FBI Is Creating A New System To Track Police Shootings

The change comes amidst widespread criticism.

In October, FBI director James Comey heavily criticized the organization's methods for counting people killed by police officers.

"It is unacceptable that The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper from the U.K. are becoming the lead source of information about violent encounters between police and civilians. That is not good for anybody," he told politicians and law enforcement officials.

Amidst widespread criticism, the FBI has decided to release a new, more accurate system to keep track of the number of people killed by police. The Guardian reports that "Officials said statisticians were intending to count deadly incidents involving physical force, Tasers and blunt weapons used by officers as well as firearms and that they planned to begin gradually publishing some more information about fatal incidents as soon as 2016."

FBI senior official Stephen Fischer told The Guardian that the Bureau had "identified a need for more robust and complete information about encounters between law enforcement officers and citizens that result in a use of force." Fischer added that "such details as age, sex, and race of the officers and subjects" will also probably be released.

The FBI's new system seeks to address the chronic problem of local law enforcement's reticence to report cases dealing with police killing civilians. In October, the Guardian reported that "Only 224 of 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the US reported a fatal shooting by their officers to the FBI last year."

According to The Washington Post, at press time, 913 people have been shot and killed by police this year alone. "Thirty-one of them were black and unarmed."

Though the new method will not require local law enforcement to report these cases to the FBI, the goal is that this new system will put an increased pressure on them to do so.

Hopefully, the FBI's new methods will increase accountability for the officers who kill. On Tuesday (Dec. 8), NY Daily News writer and activist Shaun King wrote: "More police have been charged in shootings this year than in past years, but none, not a single officer, has been convicted yet in 2015 for killing someone. That feels something like progress, but factually a 0% conviction rate still exists."