We’ve launched a Police Data Initiative that’s helping … innovative cities use data to strengthen their work and hold themselves accountable by sharing it with the public.
Two weeks ago, in Camden, NJ, the President announced the launch of the Police Data Initiative. The effort is a fast response from the White House, working with 21 leading police departments across the country, to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which made recommendations encouraging better use of data and technology to build community trust and reduce inappropriate uses of force.
Six weeks before the President’s announcement, police chiefs were invited to the White House, along with municipal Chief Technology Officers and other leaders from cities and counties across the nation. These people represented jurisdictions that are already taking action or seeking to act on improving policing outcomes through responsible, innovative use of data and technology. The White House event advanced the conversation by bringing these leaders together with technologists, data scientists, law enforcement experts, philanthropists, and others.
Discussions focused on specific actions that police departments can take to make progress in these areas. The collaboration generated multiple commitments to action that were announced the same day as the President’s speech, and, the White House is working with the police departments and other partners now to drive quick implementation.
Graphic created by Presidential Innovation Fellow Christopher Wong.
Addressing Key Challenges
The Administration recognizes the importance of working with cities and police departments to overcome challenges to progress. The White House meeting enabled Police Chiefs and technologists to discuss challenges and solutions to key questions. These included:
These questions were chosen to represent many of the difficult considerations that exist around collecting, releasing, and contextualizing data around police community interactions.
The Police Data Census
Participants at the White House event also identified a need to better understand the current state of policing open data, including what is available and in what forms. As such, the Code for America team working in Indianapolis, IN took the lead on creating a Police Open Data Census that attempts to capture and visually display information about what is available nationally.
We look forward to continuing to work with police departments, cities, and communities to build on these efforts.
David Wilkinson is Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Clarence Wardell is a Presidential Innovation Fellow.