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This article first appeared on ProPublica. You can read it here.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has drawn historic levels of interest in police misconduct and drawn condemnation from law enforcement leaders nationwide.

As a reporter covering law enforcement for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and now in partnership with ProPublica's Local Reporting Network, I use investigative reporting techniques to strengthen police accountability. Other journalists do the same. But, in truth, any citizen can apply the same methods to ensure the law enforcement system they're funding is serving them well.

Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate. But I've been surprised by how often it's possible, though time consuming, to expose important issues by requesting and examining records and data from police departments and other government agencies and engaging citizens and key leaders. So here are five techniques concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers can use to examine police conduct in their communities.

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