About this story:
The Washington Post sent open records requests to the 55 municipal and county police departments that employ the most sworn officers, according to the latest employment data from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Reporters requested the names of officers who were terminated and those who were reinstated after they contested their firings through arbitration or other appeals since 2006. In some cases, departments disclosed only the total number of officers they had fired or rehired. Some departments also provided data that covered only some of the years requested. Where departments disclosed officers’ names, reporters requested corresponding internal affairs records and records of the termination appeals. Some departments declined to provide additional information; others disclosed a wide range of documents. Reporters, working with students at American University, created a database of officers who had been reinstated, which was the basis of The Post’s analysis. This article was produced in partnership with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. Students Teaganne Finn, Josephine Peterson, Matt Hanan, Taylor Hartz, Jordan Houston and Shaun Courtney contributed reporting.