According to statistics reported to the FBI for 2021, 8,226 law enforcement agencies submitted use-of-force data to the National Use-of-Force Data Collection, which is managed by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. These agencies represent more than 60% of all federal, state, local, tribal, and college/university sworn officers.1 Data regarding these use-of-force incidents were released today on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer.
The 2022 first quarter data reported to the FBI for January to March 2022 was also released. For this quarter, 6,773 law enforcement agencies submitted use-of-force data to the National Use-of-Force Data Collection, which represents more than 40% of all federal, state, local, tribal, and college/university sworn officers. Because agencies submitted data that represented more than 40% of the nation’s officers but not more than 60% for January through March 2022, only participation data was released. These data are also available on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer.
2021 Data Summary
For 2021, the FBI released national-level data based on a threshold of 60% participation by federal, state, local, tribal, and college/university sworn officers. At this level of participation, the FBI releases national data as ratios and percentages in terms of the most frequently reported responses to questions (in list format without actual counts).
Agencies submitted data concerning qualifying uses of force that included any action that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury2 of a person, or the discharge of a firearm at or in the direction of a person. If no qualifying incidents occurred, agencies submitted a zero report for that month. These data include those agencies that submitted at least one incident report or zero report for 2021. Please note, due to rounding, percentage totals may not add to 100%.
Type of Incident
In 2021, 50.7% of use-of-force incidents submitted to the FBI resulted in serious bodily injury of a person, 33.2% caused the death of a person, and 17% involved the discharge of a firearm at or in the direction of a person.
Reason for Initial Contact
The most reported reasons for initial contact in 2021 were as follows. (Because of rounding, numbers may not add to 100%.)
- 56.8% involved officers responding to unlawful or suspicious activities.
- 11.0% stemmed from traffic stops.
- 10.1% resulted from warrant services/court orders.
- 7.6% were for medical, mental health, or welfare checks on individuals.
- 3.2% followed routine patrols other than traffic stops.
- 2.7% involved follow-up investigations.
- 6.9% were unknown and unlikely to ever be known.
Type of Force Applied
The types of force reported to be used most often include firearms; hands, fists, or feet; electronic control devices; canines; and other.
Type of Resistance Encountered
In use-of-force incidents, officers most often encountered individuals who failed to comply with verbal commands or other types of passive resistance. Other types of resistance encountered included displaying a weapon at an officer or another individual, attempting to escape or flee custody, using a firearm against an officer or another individual, or resisting being handcuffed or arrested.
To protect the privacy of individuals involved in these use-of-force incidents, regional and state levels of analysis are not available with data that represents 60% participation. Datasets at the regional and state level contain smaller numbers of reported incidents and less variety within the data elements. These variables increase the risk of linking specific answers in the data to individuals involved in such incidents. The UCR Program is working diligently to develop new ways to maximize data transparency while fulfilling our responsibility to protect the privacy of all individuals.
Participation in the National Use-of-Force Data Collection, which began on January 1, 2019, is expected to continue to grow as more agencies become aware of this opportunity. When the percentage of officers represented in the data collection reaches 80% or greater, the FBI may present aggregated use-of-force data.
1 The FBI uses a total count of 860,000 sworn police employees, an estimate by the UCR Program, based on all known and reasonably presumed federal, state, local, tribal, and college/university sworn law enforcement personnel eligible to participate in the National Use-of-Force Data Collection.
2 For the purpose of this data collection, the definition of serious bodily injury is based, in part, on Title 18, United States Code, section 2246 (4): The term “‘serious bodily injury’ means bodily injury that involves substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.”