Over the past two years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has more than doubled the amount of investigations of police shootings and use of deadly force incidents, going from 50 in 2013 to 103 in 2014.
WFTV news reports that the increased number is due to local police departments wanting to appear more accountable to the public in how it investigates its own. In other words, using the state-run FDLE, rather than its own police officers or the prosecutors they work with everyday, may help departments convey a sense of transparency.
Although investigations increased last year, the number of fatal shootings and use of force incidents were down by about 30 percent from 2013. According to Killed By Police, a website that tracks fatal interactions with police, Florida police killed 93 people in 2014. The previous year had 124 deadly encounters.
However, fatal police shootings have been increasing over the years. Between 1999 and 2013, official numbers from FDLE show there was a 314 percent increase.
However, the number of "justified homicides" by police officers are far less than the numbers compiled by Killed By Police. One reason could be that the numbers obtained by FDLE are based on voluntarily-given stats from police departments. Killed By Police numbers, on the other hand, are based on local news reports.
The latest example of a fatal police shooting sent to FDLE happened in Volusia County earlier this week. Police there raided a home during a drug investigation and shot unarmed 26-year-old Derek Cruice.