Improving Data for Racial Equity in Policing

A Summary Report based on a Roundtable hosted in partnership with the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE)

Overview

As the United States grapples with questions around police accountability, there is a growing need for data on police involvement in minority communities specifically and police performance more broadly.

In January 2022, the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) and Measures for Justice (MFJ) hosted a Roundtable on Improving Data for Racial Equity in Policing.

The Roundtable kicked off with a webinar (viewable above), which featured speakers from Measures for Justice, Wormeli Consulting, Police Scorecard, the Tableau Foundation, the Council on Criminal Justice’s Task Force on Policing, the National Police Data Coalition, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and the XPRIZE Foundation’s Racial Equity Alliance.

Following the webinar, CODE and MFJ hosted the Roundtable and brought together a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in data to improve policing, support new criminal justice reform policies, and provide insight on police involvement in marginalized communities.

This report synthesizes the discussions at that Roundtable into cross-cutting themes, specific measures of police performance, and a set of recommendations for the field.

The Roundtable and summary report were made possible by generous support from the Tableau Foundation.

Key Findings

For Funders:

  • Invest in data visualization and emerging technologies.
  • Incentivize data linking programs and activities.
  • Fund and evaluate alternatives to policing programs.

For Police Departments:

  • Make anonymized 911 data accessible for review.
  • Invest in police data capacity.
  • Support alternatives to arrest and other interventions.
  • Adopt existing data standards and protocols where possible.
  • Meet communities where they’re at.

For Advocates and Communities:

  • Develop community-led quantitative data sets
  • Complement quantitative data with community stories
  • Create shared metrics with police departments

Download the full report for additional key findings targeted to Local Governments, Researchers, and the Federal Government.

Why It Matters

Nearly two years after the death of George Floyd catalyzed nationwide protests around police accountability, policing continues to be a critical issue in communities of color and the nation as a whole. As calls for police reform and measurable improvements in policing have increased, there is an urgent need for data to provide insight on police involvement in minority communities.

Key Points:

  • Policing data currently remains sparse, decentralized, and inconsistent around the United States.
  • Better data is needed to understand the deep structural, systemic, and institutional problems that surround the police presence in Black and Brown communities.
  • Data on the success of reform efforts will be essential to determine what works and why.

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