Protesters hold signs in front of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department during a demonstration in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 23, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by police three days earlier and subsequent unrest in the city.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it will begin collecting data on deadly police encounters nationwide, starting early next year, the New York Times reports.

As the report notes, it marks the beginning of the most ambitious effort the federal government has ever made to track police use of force, coming after the nation has been rocked time and time again with the aftermath of such brutal encounters.

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As the Times notes, the project will not only collect data on fatal shootings by local, state and federal officers but will also include data on the deaths that occur in police custody through suicide or natural causes.

"Accurate and comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement is essential to an informed and productive discussion about community-police relations," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "In the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue to work alongside our local, state, tribal and federal partners to ensure that we put in place a system to collect data that is comprehensive, useful and responsive to the needs of the communities we serve."

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Read more at the New York Times and the Department of Justice