What We Do / How We Measure / Police Measures

National Policing Measures

This work matters because a national, standardized set of police measures will help us evaluate key areas of policing, including trust in the department and perceptions of legitimacy; use of force; least harm practices; accountability; officer wellness and safety; fiscal needs and responsibility; recruitment and training–all based on the premise that you cannot solve for one problem in policing without measuring and understanding all the factors that contribute to that problem. The individual measures that will be used to evaluate these key areas are in the works.

Creating a National Standard of Policing Measures

Policing in the United States is under scrutiny. Some people think it can’t be saved and needs to be abolished. Others cite rising crime rates as a reason to double down on shoring up the police.

We believe the best way to fix a system in crisis is to know as much about it as we can. Not only via focused information about one part or another, but through a rigorous, holistic overview of all the system’s moving parts.

This is why we’ve been working for years to develop a national set of police measures with input from community leaders and police departments. Now we are testing, refining, and piloting these measures in two communities, the West Sacramento Police Department in California and the Rochester Police Department in New York.

What Makes This Work Different?

It’s Your Platform

To do this work, communities participate in both developing national policing measures and co-creating trackable, public goals with law enforcement.

It’s Easy to Use

The Commons platform is user-friendly, accessible, and designed to ensure the data can be understood and put to work.

It’s Policy Focused

The Commons platform features a policy goal co-created by the public and their public servants that can be tracked over time. New policy goals are added over time.

It’s Data You Can Trust

MFJ is a neutral and seasoned third party in the data processing piece of this work. For this reason, you can be sure the data are valid, reliable, and trustworthy.

National Police Measures: Key Areas of Focus

Police Measures Graphic

Project Background

Measures for Justice began to develop a draft set of police measures in 2019 by convening a Policing Council. The Council is a senior advisory group comprised of some of the most experienced minds in the area of policing in the United States. It was chaired by Laurie Robinson, a policing scholar and former co-chair of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, 2014-2015.

“Public trust in law enforcement is critical in a democracy. But at a time when that trust has been shaken nationally by highly-visible events, I applaud creating multidimensional police performance measures in a collaborative process with both law enforcement leaders and communities.” – Laurie Robinson

MFJ has also been working with community leaders and organizations across the country to understand what aspects of policing need to be measured alongside what policies. Part of this work convened a Roundtable on Improving Data for Racial Equity in Policing co-hosted by the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE). The Roundtable explored the use of data in the various dimensions of policing we identified, reviewed existing data sources, gaps, and challenges in the relevant data, highlighted high-priority use cases of data application, and identified opportunities to improve data and put it to better use.

MFJ collated findings from the Roundtable and is currently piloting our draft set of measures in two communities, the West Sacramento Police Department in California and the Rochester Police Department in New York. Both pilots are also being informed by local focus groups.