Video: How Data Improved Officer Accountability in Dallas, Texas

A year ago, the Dallas Police decided to try something new: complete transparency. David Brown, Police Chief in Dallas, talks about the approach his department took in releasing public safety data, and the quantifiable improvements that occurred as a result—including updated policies and a new level of accountability.

“The data we have belongs to the citizens,” explains Brown in the video. “It’s not the police’s data.” After partnering with Socrata, all data collected by Dallas PD is now put into a visual, easily interpreted format and accessible to the public.

It allows people to see the information behind every encounter with the police, including those that involved deadly force. Factors such as the officer’s race and gender are included, as well as the condition of the subject. Citizens have responded positively, as has the media at large. Subsequently, the state mandated all regions in Texas to publish data in this format.

The Police Data Initiative One Year In

“At the time we released this data, the value of trust hadn’t really been appreciated by us as much, but this built quite a bit of trust,” Brown says. “It led to improved policies and accountability related to police actions and use of deadly force.”

One year in, Brown calls the results “unprecedented” and “transformative.” The city is building more community engagement by being open about any issues with the police. “We believe holding a small number of officers accountable protects the integrity of the vast majority of police officers that make us all proud,” Brown says.

Watch to find out more about the results of the Dallas PD data program, one year in.