What Cities Can Learn from Dallas

July 14, 2016 7:45 am PST | Data as a Service
dallas pd

We send our love to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and to Americans across the country hurting. We send our love to the City of Dallas.

No city can fully prepare for the turbulent events that occurred in recent days: citizens killed by police, citizens demanding justice in the streets, and police dying in the line of duty. As our nation mourns, we look for ways to rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement agencies. We seek solutions to make our cities safer.

In the midst of these tragedies, media and citizens have rallied in support of the Dallas Police Department.

Dallas news clips

A Police Department That’s Embraced Reform, Slate
Dallas Has Been Called A Leader In Police Training, Transparency, NPR
Dallas Officer-Involved Shootings Have Rapidly Declined In Recent Years, Buzzfeed

Under the progressive leadership of Chief David Brown, the Dallas Police Department has made tremendous strides in curbing excessive force and reducing officer-involved shootings. Chief Brown has made data sharing a central pillar of his department. The department joined over fifty other law enforcement agencies across the country as partners in the White House’s Police Data Initiative, which is working to leverage data to increase transparency, build community trust, and strengthen accountability. And, in April, Chief Brown spoke in Washington about how transparency is fundamental to the Dallas Police Department’s operations.

“That was a big step to make that our mantra — that the data was the citizens’ data, not the police’s data,” said Brown. “Much of what we deal with here — with police involved shootings and use of force — the undercurrent is about race. So we believe it’s important to share the subjects’ and officers’ race, gender, the condition of the subject, [and] the grand jury disposition.”

We’re all in this together; it’s not us versus them. Our cities belong to all of us. Data sharing is one small piece of a larger puzzle that can enable a dialogue that brings people together. When shared with citizens and media, data enables journalists and advocates to build narratives based on facts instead of rumors. Dallas was proactive. The department didn’t scramble to produce reports or craft a reactionary response because the data was already in the hands of its citizens.

Data alone won’t prevent a tragedy, but it will help cities recover and rebuild trust with their most valuable resource, their people.

Hear more from Chief Brown in his own words.

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