Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why Are Use-Of-Force Reports Confidential?

Police in riot gear stand in the street.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC
/

Where is the data on police violence? Every time a law enforcement officer uses a weapon, they submit a report justifying use of force. Police department procedures make those reports inaccessible to the public.

When use-of-force reports are categorized as personnel records — which includes performance reviews and employee complaints — they are protected by state law under a privacy clause. Efforts to increase transparency include a voluntary FBI database started at the beginning of 2019 in which about 40% of the nation’s law enforcement officers currently participate.

On June 9, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order which includes the creation of a Center for the Reduction of Law Enforcement Use of Deadly Force and the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice. It remains unclear whether the data released by the task force will include specific incidents or simply aggregated data about agencies. Host Frank Stasio parses apart how law enforcement departments obscure use-of-force information with WUNC’s data reporter Jason deBruyn. DeBruyn’s work is part of the NC Watchdog Reporting Network.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Related Stories