We’re part of a team of USA TODAY Network reporters who investigated police officers who were able to keep their jobs or find new ones despite repeated, serious violations. So far, we’ve identified 85,000 officers investigated for misconduct. Ask ...
At least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the USA have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade, an investigation by USA TODAY Network found.
Despite their role as public servants, the men and women who swear an oath to keep communities safe can generally avoid public scrutiny for their misdeeds.
The records of their misconduct are filed away, rarely seen by anyone outside their departments.Police unions and their political allies have worked to put special protections in place ensuring some records are shielded from public view, or even destroyed.
Reporters from USA TODAY, its 100-plus affiliated newsrooms and the nonprofit Invisible Institute in Chicago have spent more than a year creating the biggest collection of policemisconduct records.
Obtained from thousands of state agencies, prosecutors, police departments and sheriffs, the records detail at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct. The records also identify more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 states.
We’re three of the reporters who worked on this project. Ask us anything!
Mark Nichols is a data journalist and part of the national investigations team at USA TODAY and the USA TODAY Network. His data analysis and reporting on lead contamination in drinking water systems across the U.S. led to an award-winning series of stories in 2016. He also was a contributing writer to USA TODAY Network’s nationwide investigation of teacher discipline, a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting. Follow him on Twitter: @nicholsmarkc
Eric Litke is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA TODAY Network. He has reported on the criminal justice system for over a decade, including a yearlong examination of sentencing inequity and lack of oversight in Wisconsin. He also writes for PolitiFact Wisconsin. Follow him on Twitter: @ericlitke
James Pilcher is an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer and USA TODAY Network. He has been a practicing journalist for the past 25 years. He's won numerous journalism awards and was part of the reporting team at The Enquirer that won the 2018 Pulitzer for Local Reporting and recently published stories on sex trafficking and policemisconduct. James teaches investigative and data journalism as the Journalist in Residence for the University of Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @jamespilcher and Reddit: Phelch66
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Edit: We're gonna call it for now, but thanks everyone for your questions and your interest. We've appreciated the chance to chat on this important topic. And remember, if you have specific tips about cops you'd like to see examined in our ongoing reporting, send them to [email protected]. -Eric