For the first time, the New Orleans Police Department is releasing use of force data to the public. The data will be made available through the police department’s website and will be updated daily. It includes use of force incidents reported in 2016 by the NOPD in accordance with departmental policy.
The use of force data comes alongside a broader effort within the police department to provide more data to the public. Other data sets available from the New Orleans Police Department include – all calls to the police department for service from 2011-16; stop and search data; metadata for body worn cameras and in-car cameras, and public reports. The public reports data includes comprehensive reports on major aspects of the federal consent decree on bias-free policing, sexual assault, domestic violence, community engagement, training, Crisis Intervention Team and the Public Integrity Bureau.
NOPD is also updating its COMSTAT website and moving to a different system called MAX. According to a statement from NOPD – “MAX will reinvent the dated COMSTAT model by focusing not only on crime, but on comprehensive management of NOPD resources, including personnel management, deployment, misconduct, uses of force, vehicle risk management, and Consent Decree compliance. MAX will also provide a platform for measuring the effectiveness of departmental strategies, such as reducing response times.”
Big data releases from police departments are a new and welcome improvement on the transparency front. In May of last year, the Obama administration launched the Police Data Initiative, which sought to bring together law enforcement officials from across the country to discuss ways to improve transparency and trust. 21 communities initially joined the White House effort, but New Orleans is one of only a few to make good on releasing data so far.
“Transparency and accountability are at the center of building trust between police and the community,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “Releasing this data is another step forward to building greater trust with our residents by being completely transparent with how we report, investigate and track all uses of force by our officers. The NOPD is quickly becoming one of the most modernized police departments in the country and I am committed to doing everything we can to achieve that goal.”