Body Worn Video Steering Group

President Launches Police Data Initiative

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On Monday 18th May, the President was in Camden to talk about the promising progress that city is making in enhancing community policing. Last December, President Obama launched the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to better understand specific policing challenges and help communities identify actions they can take to improve law enforcement and enhance community engagement. Since that time, we have seen law enforcement agencies around the country working harder than ever to make the promise of community policing real.

Map of Police Data Initiative Participants

Map of Police Data Initiative participants

Many of the Task Force’s recommendations emphasize the opportunity for departments to better use data and technology to build community trust. As a response, the White House has launched the Police Data Initiative, which has mobilized 21 leading jurisdictions across the country to take fast action on concrete deliverables responding to these Task Force recommendations in the area of data and technology. Camden is one such jurisdiction.

By finding innovative work already underway in these diverse communities and bringing their leaders together with top technologists, researchers, data scientists and design experts, the Police Data Initiative is helping accelerate progress around data transparency and analysis, toward the goal of increased trust and impact.

Through the Initiative, key stakeholders are establishing a community of practice that will allow for knowledge sharing, community-sourced problem solving, and the establishment of documented best practices that can serve as examples for police departments nationwide.

Highlights include:

I.   Use Open Data to Build Transparency and Increase Community Trust

  • All 21 police departments have committed to release a combined total of 101 data sets that have not been released to the public. The types of data include uses of force, police pedestrian and vehicle stops, officer involved shootings and more, helping the communities gain visibility into key information on police/citizen encounters.

II.  Internal Accountability and Effective Data Analysis

  • The 4 year body camera veteran Oakland Police Department has partnered with a team of researchers at Stanford University to build automated tools to comb through the audio to surface police/citizen encounters that either went particularly poorly or went particularly well. This will allow the Oakland PD to quickly identify problems and also to lift up real world examples of the great police work that happens every day. The Stanford team is also researching ways that body worn camera data can be used to track and inform the effectiveness of training in the field, using the camera data to see whether the classroom experience translated effectively to encounters on the street.
  • The Department of Justice and the Police Data Initiative stakeholders will work with universities and other research partners to identify opportunities to coordinate body worn camera research to help avoid unintended overlap, maximize the coverage of research topics and increase cross-learning. Additionally, the Police Data Initiative will work with cutting-edge leaders in advanced video analysis to identify opportunities to help police departments maximize the value of the thousands of hours of video body worn cameras will produce.

(This article has been condensed, see more by clicking here.)

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