Elevated Risk: Police Violence In The Mountain West

2020 will be known as a devastating year. More than 300,000 people in America died due to complications from the novel coronavirus. But it was the single death of a Black man in Minneapolis that sparked nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality. It also sparked our Mountain West News Bureau to dig into the numbers of people killed in our region during interactions with law enforcement. And we found something startling. The Mountain West has the highest rate of fatal encounters with police in the entire country. Drawing on extensive data from across the region and listening sessions with Mountain West residents and law enforcement officers, our series "Elevated Risk" takes a hard look at law enforcement in the region.

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This is the fifth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Until recently, Logan Dailey was a deputy sheriff in rural Cherry County, Nebraska. But today, he's the managing editor and reporter for four rural news outlets and a farming business publication based in Wyoming.

Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

This is the fourth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Moses Lake is a hard-scrabble, working-class community out in the dry, flat scablands of eastern Washington. Ywhna Bin Wahid is taking me on a tour downtown.

Lethbridge Police Service

This is the third story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A windswept valley cuts through the heart of Lethbridge, Alberta, about an hour north of the border. That wind is what the small prairie city has long been known for. The local hockey team is called the Hurricanes.

But these days Lethbridge is known for something else too – crime. The city of 100,000 tops Canada's Crime Severity Index. And as the crime rate has risen, so has the police's use of force.

Courtesy of Tasheena Duran

This is the second story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Cole Stump was a Montanan, through and through. The 29-year-old citizen of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe was raised on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in the north-central part of the state and had family ties to the Fort Peck Reservation in the northeast corner. He was a loving father of five and a skilled ranch hand.

Salt Lake City Police Department

This is the first story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Last summer, parks and streets across the country filled with the sound of violins. They were played by people protesting the death of 23-year-old violinist Elijah McClain. The young black man was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora, Colo. when he was stopped by the police after someone called saying he looked "sketchy."

This project was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

The Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk" spotlights police violence across the region. Here's an FAQ about our reporting and the data behind it.