The White House: Police Data Initiative

The Dallas Police Department was invited to The White House today for the Police Data Initiative.  Leading law enforcement agencies along with technologists, researchers, and community stakeholders around the country met with Senior Administration and White House Officials.  They shared experiences, resources, technology tools and data innovation leveraged to increase trust between police and citizens as called for by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The meeting started with opening statements by Clarence Wardell III of the U.S. Digital Service at The White House followed by Megan Smith, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. They both stressed the importance of having a good relationship between police departments and the citizens they are sworn to serve.

The panel was moderated by Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs. Prior to sitting down at the table to partake in a very informative Q&A, he invited the three panelists to come up one at a time to discuss what they have done in their departments.

Chief Brown

Chief Brown was the first to take the podium and stated, “it starts with transparency.” He then mentioned the Dixon Circle incident where a Dallas Police officer, who happened to be white, shot an unarmed subject, who happened to be black. Immediately after the event unfolded, false rumors spread throughout the neighborhood that the officer shot the suspect in the back while he was running away.  Chief Brown explained why it was so important to get the facts out quickly, “Facts became the great equalizer for us.”

He went on to talk about how “trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.” According to Chief Brown, information belongs to the citizens and “we believe that police data is citizen data and we are the caretakers of the data.” He also talked about how the Dallas Police Department has implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety during interactions.  He emphasized the importance of using de-escalation, time and distance. If there is any misconduct, “we have to hold accountable the very small number of officers that violate our deadly force and use of force policies,” said Brown. 

He closed his statements by saying, “transparency is the beginning point, but you also have to have policy, training and you have to hold the small few officers accountable, so you can protect the integrity of the vast majority that makes us all proud.”

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Other panelists were Wendy R. Harn, Chief Data Officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and Assistant Chief of Police Robert Schroeder of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department.

To continue with transparency, the Dallas Police Department is proud to add the Response to Resistance database to our internet site. Here is the link http://dallaspolice.net/rtr/index.html.