Recipe for Civic Success: Building Strong Police-Community Partnerships

August 27, 2015 7:00 am PST | Data as a Service, Recipes for Civic Success

In New Orleans, community policing initiatives require trust and accountability between at-risk youth and police officers. To support these efforts, the New Orleans Police Department and Operation Spark, a community-based non-profit organization, hosted Summerware, a three-day workshop to make good use of police open data.

Summerware brought together New Orleans Police Department officials with intimate knowledge of policing practices and 15 young technologists from Operation Spark learning new skills. Together these groups verified the accuracy of policing data, reducing duplicate records and misspellings, before the data were published on the City’s Socrata open data portal. Primarily, the event was an opportunity to improve data quality , but the added value was that it organically bolstered efforts to develop strong community partnerships and mutual understandings.


  • Alliance of New Orleans Police Department, Operation Spark, and Police Data Initiative administrators from the White House.
  • Use of force data from traffic and pedestrian stops
  • 911 calls for service data, including arrival time
  • 311 calls for service including broken street lights and fallen trees


  1. Develop buy-in from the Police Chief and City executive leadership to pre-release data and attend an event.
  2. Cultivate a relationship with a community-based partner that has shared values and established relationships with youth (or your target audience).
  3. Design an event with clear goals to produce measureable outcomes, such as the verification of data accuracy.
  4. Host an event to increase interactions and create opportunities for future police-community partnerships.


  • Summerware participants reviewed the reliability and integrity of police data.
  • Public engagement addressed concerns about transparency and legitimacy in policing head on, supporting community policing efforts beyond the three-day event.
  • Bringing together at-risk youth and police created mutual understandings of their unique perspectives.

More information:

To learn more about Summerware, visit:

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