As the Black Lives Matter movement rose to national prominence in 2015, a small group associated with the push to end unnecessary police killings suggested 10 specific reforms that every police agency ought to adopt, hoping to inspire informed, constructive activism in communities across the country.
On Wednesday, Campaign Zero launched a new initiative grounded in a similar premise—that changing outcomes in a country with 18,000 law-enforcement agencies requires local reform efforts “in every jurisdiction,” and that people everywhere therefore need enough information “to effectively evaluate each law enforcement agency and hold them accountable to measurable results.”
But how to achieve that?
Campaign Zero’s provisional answer is Police Scorecard, a new site that assigns grades to 100 large police departments in California. The organization chose that state because it collects and publishes more data on police agencies than most others.
Perhaps most striking in the statewide analysis: “Overall, half of people killed or seriously injured by police (49%) were unarmed.” And the deadliest locales:
Police in San Bernardino, Riverside, Stockton, Long Beach, Fremont and Bakersfield used deadly force at substantially higher rates than other major cities in California. San Jose and Los Angeles police used deadly force at 3x the rate of police in San Francisco and San Diego. And Oakland police had one of the lowest rates of deadly force, reflecting the substantial decline in use of force incidents that has followed DOJ mandated reforms to their use of force policies.
Carlsbad, a sleepy seaside municipality in North San Diego County, enjoyed the best-performing police department among those graded, while ultra-wealthy Beverly Hills performed the worst, according to analysis of data from 2016 and 2017.