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Building Trust One Dataset at a Time: Campuses Invited to Join PDI

Like all campus public safety agencies, the University of Delaware Police Department collects reams of data, primarily for Clery Act reporting. The department also collects data unrelated to Clery reporting that allows its command staff to assess performance and inform planning. With guidance from Chief of Police Patrick Ogden, the police department has found another use for some previously open but “hidden” datasets: to help build community trust. Open datasets are those that are not precluded from release to the public by laws, regulations, or policies.

Starting in January 2017, the department began making three datasets available to the community: use of force (see Figure 1), police department demographics, and community engagement activities. According to Chief Ogden, “The University of Delaware Police Department maintains a culture of transparency and community engagement. Sharing this data with our community shows that we have nothing to hide and that public safety is a shared responsibility.”

What better day to discuss datasets than National Coffee With a Cop Day? IACLEA Director of Government & External Relations Jeff Allison; Garrett Johnson, Police Foundation; Chief Pat Ogden, an IACLEA Board Member; and Lt. Pete Lenhoff (left to right) raised a mug to the power of data as they collaborated on the Police Data Initiative October 3 at University of Delaware. Go, Blue Hens!

The release of open data stems from the University of Delaware’s participation in the Police Data Initiative (PDI), funded by the US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and administered by the National Police Foundation. There are 140 law enforcement agencies participating in the PDI. The other campus agencies are:

  • Mott Community College (Michigan)
  • Southern University at Baton Rouge (Louisiana)
  • Texas Southern University
  • University of Vermont

To increase the number of campus public safety agencies participating in the PDI, the National Police Foundation has contracted with IACLEA to produce a Campus Safety Data Guidebook tentatively planned for finalization in December 2018. In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in the PDI, please go to pdi@policefoundation.org.



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