A critical factor in data-driven policing strategies is the ability to plan, collect, analyze, disseminate, and evaluate information being provided to street officers and investigators. To do this effectively and efficiently, data must be communicated so that it provides meaningful information at all levels of the organization, informing decision-making for executive staff, commanders, detectives and street officers.
Focusing on effective data and communication could allow the public safety system to be more effective while also having a smaller footprint and being less present in citizens’ lives when not needed. Doing this successfully means both leveraging new technology and better information.
New PPD technology investments ensure that information can be delivered to the officers in a targeted, concise, actionable, and timely format, and allow those officers in return to share their observations and information received to the analysts who require it. In order for PPD’s investments in information technology and analysis to have an impact, information products need to be pushed to the right people, at the right time, in the right format, and in the right volume. If any of these are off, then PPD cannot use the information to prevent crime or clear cases.
PPD produces numerous information products on topics such as officer safety, situational awareness, assessments, and other tactical and strategic assessments as directed by command staff. For example, following a shooting, the PPD produces a document detailing what PPD knows and does not know about the shooting. Aside from facts about the incidents, the document includes questions and recommendations. The questions involve pieces of information that are unknown, such as information that would likely help identify the shooter, improve the strength of a case, or help PPD understand the risk of a retaliatory shooting. The recommendations may involve directions for patrol operations to increase presence in specific streets, search for specific individuals, or observe specific locations.
PPD and CJP researchers are testing approaches to push information to patrol and investigations. CJP is testing the format, method, frequency, and volume to assess which methods result in the greatest effects:
- How can push notifications to foot and bike patrol better direct officers?
- Does pushing shooting recommendations to the roll call sergeant have positive effects?
- Does pushing “open questions” to front line officers change police focus?
- How do officers respond to geographically specific notifications that remind officers of issues in their immediate vicinity?