Last week we shared an article with you comparing Amarillo and Lubbock, and the police-involved shootings.

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The article shared statistics from a website called Police Scorecard.

<strong>The Police Scorecard is the first nationwide public evaluation of policing in the United States.</strong> The Scorecard calculates levels of police violence, accountability, racial bias, and other policing outcomes for over 16,000 municipal and county law enforcement agencies, covering nearly 100% of the US population. The indicators included in this scorecard were selected based on a review of the research literature, input from activists and experts in the field, and a review of publicly available datasets on policing from federal, state, and local agencies. This project is designed to help communities, researchers, police leaders, and policy-makers take data-informed action to reduce police use of force, increase accountability and reimagine public safety in their jurisdictions.

The article in question shared statistics from the above source and included police-involved shootings from 2013-2021 for both Amarillo and Lubbock, we also shared their racial/ethnicity statistics.

READ: Exploring The High Rate Of Police-Involved Shootings In Amarillo

The purpose of the article was to point out the differences between Amarillo and Lubbock, and the amount of deadly force that was used in each city.

After the article was published Amarillo Chief of Police Martin Birkenfeld reached out to us and shared with us his concerns about the findings of the Police Scorecard source,

"The predictions made by are questionable at best. Their numbers differ from what we have meticulously recorded. The timeframe used in your article is 2013 – 2021. During that timeframe, no black person was killed during a police encounter in Amarillo. In fact, the last time a black person died in a shooting with Amarillo Police was December 7th of 1994. Stating that a “black person was 4.3x” more likely to be killed by deadly force than a white person in Amarillo is inaccurate and misleading.

Chief Birkenfeld, went on to share some of the statistics for 2023 that will be included in the annual report due out in March.

In 2023, out of more than 84,000 calls for service, more than 30,000 traffic stops, and over 6300 arrests, Amarillo police officers used deadly force three times, resulting in four deaths. Officers used other types of force (like taser or pepper spray) less than 180 times in 2023. We also saw a 10.9% decrease in part one index crimes which includes murder, rape, aggravated assaults, and robbery. We are still compiling and verifying our data but I will publish exact numbers in our 2023 annual report expected to be out in March. You can see other reports here: Amarillo Police Annual Reporting."

Chief Birkenfeld also added that,

Sometimes police officers are put in situations where force must be used to arrest a person, prevent harm to others, or to defend ourselves from harm. Every time this happens, we scrutinize this use of force and make sure it was appropriate. When we find mistakes or problems, we address them.

Every deadly force encounter is tragic on several levels, but the vast majority of actions by police officers are found to be justified by the circumstances created by the offender. Fortunately these deadly force encounters only occur in a very small fraction of police interactions.

We have a history of ethical policing in Amarillo and I expect that to continue. This will happen as long as we are transparent with our polices and actions. The community should expect nothing less.

Google Answers the Top 10 Questions About Amarillo

I love Google. It can literally answer ANYTHING you need it to answer. Whether it's right or wrong is a totally different question.

Recently, I found myself wondering about something and went to Google. And that's when I started noticing the "people also asked..." section and BOY...Some of them made perfect sense, some of them were interesting, and one of them was downright baffling...and it was a top 10 question which is even more absurd.

So let's see what we've got. Here's the top 10 questions as asked to Google about Amarillo.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Clark

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Traffic stinks.

These intersections stink harder.

Don't hesitate to sound off if we missed any. We're happy to add more Amarillo collision hotspots to this list of shame.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Clark

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Gallery Credit: Jordan Richardson

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