Examining the Police Data Initiative in the Wake of Tragedy

July 15, 2016 12:00 pm PDT | Data News Roundup

Stories about law enforcement’s use of open data to improve police-community relationships — from President Obama speaking about the Police Data Initiative to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ spotlighting the city’s community policing training — dominated headlines, following a week of mourning, processing, and unrest across the nation. The IRS breaks new ground on nonprofit data transparency, Open Delaware speaks in Dover, and a look at how analytics can play a role in the fight against Zika. Read more in this week’s Open Data Download:

Dallas Has Been Called A Leader In Police Training, Transparency

“The morning after a gunman targeted and killed five law enforcement officers, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called it ‘ironic’ that his city was the target of the worst police loss-of-life since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Ironic because the police department says it has taken great strides to avoid the kind of confrontations and incidents that have led to distrust and frayed race relations in some communities. ‘This police department trained in de-escalation far before cities across America did it,’ Rawlings told reporters Friday. ‘We are one of the premier community policing cities in the country.'” Read more from NPR.

How one department is improving public safety with ‘open data’

“Absent a robust public information office that regularly posts information to social media and makes public statement via the news media, the public often has no way to really see or understand the great work police officers are doing every day to keep people safe. One agency in Georgia is presently experimenting with a technology solution that may help fix that problem. As an added benefit, the tool they’re using is also helping the agency become more efficient and effective in fighting crime.” Read more from PoliceOne.com.

Why President Obama’s Police Reform Is a Work in Progress

“In the wake of two black men killed in officer-involved shootings, President Obama reminded the nation in a Thursday night speech that his White House has already taken steps to help improve relations between police and communities. ‘Last year, we put together a task force that was comprised of civil rights activists and community leaders, but also law enforcement officials — police captains, sheriffs,’ the President said. ‘And they came up with specific recommendations and steps that could ensure that the trust between communities and police departments were rebuilt and incidents like this would be less likely to occur.'” Read more from Time.

Open Data Delaware got to speak at the state capitol

“A group from Open Data Delaware addressed the State Senate on June 21, recapping the state’s first civic hackathon, DataWorks. The group spoke about its solutions for streamlining the government bidding process for small businesses.” Read more from Technical.ly.

IRS Releasing Electronically-Filed Nonprofit Tax Data

“The IRS has broken new ground in nonprofit data transparency. On June 16, the IRS released more than one million electronically-filed tax forms in bulk, open, machine-readable form; the filings go from 2011 through the most recent reports, most of which cover 2014. The data is now available for anyone to download from Amazon Web Services (AWS) through Amazon S3.” Read more from the Huffington Post. 

7 pillars of digital government success

“In just a few years, the concept of digital government has grown from a White House strategy memorandum to a full-fledged priority for federal agencies. In the past year especially, the concept has become a hot trend, with agencies across government planning and implementing projects for citizen-centric delivery of services….I believe there are seven ‘pillars’ that create the foundation for a successful digital government project.” Read more from Federal Times.

How Advanced Analytics Can Help Combat Infectious Diseases From Spreading

“New revelations about the extent of the neurological impacts of Zika infection as well as the nature of its transmission prompted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deputy director to describe the virus as ‘a bit scarier than we initially thought.’ As public health threats evolve, so must our ability to predict and effectively monitor their impacts….Advanced analytics can help create a centralized public health information infrastructure by combining and cleansing information collected from local, federal and international health agencies, as well as the academic research community, pharmaceutical vaccine makers and possibly even “nontraditional” health data sources such as social media.” Read more from Nextgov.


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