New Open Data Initiative Supports Ongoing

Sheriff truckNew Open Data Initiative Supports Ongoing Transparency

Author: Steven Wright, Director, Business Intelligence 

The County’s initial release represents the first stage in our broader effort to supply ongoing data regarding our initiatives and programs

Here at Cuyahoga County we are always looking at how we can improve the impact of our programs, while at the same time being mindful of the fact that we are stewards of your tax dollars.

Effectively gathering and then using program data is a principal piece of these efforts. After all, if we don’t track it how can we improve upon it?

As we capture and track data we are committed to being open and transparent with the information. As part of this commitment Cuyahoga County became one of a select group of government organizations collaborating with the White House to increase public safety accountability and to enhance police-citizen relations.

Task forcePartly in response to a rash of officer-involved shootings, coupled with the intensive public backlash, President Obama, in December 2014, launched the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to identify the best ways for law enforcement and local communities to collaborate in order to reduce crime and increase trust.

Several of the Task Force recommendations spoke to the central importance of technology and transparency in order to help build trust and legitimacy. Subsequently, in May 2015, the White House launched the Police Data Initiative (PDI), a “community of practice that includes leading law enforcement agencies, technologists, and researchers committed to improving the relationship between citizens and police through uses of data.” (2015, Office of the White House Press Secretary).

Of the 74 government organizations currently participating in the White House PDI project, only five are counties (Camden County, New Jersey; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Cuyahoga County; Los Angeles County, California; and Montgomery County, Maryland).

Sheriff's OfficeThe Office of the County Executive and the Sheriff’s Office have just released the data that highlights the sheriff’s IMPACT (inter-community collaboration and general law enforcement) unit, its GPS electronic monitoring program, and High Visibility Enforcement Operations (HVEO) traffic stop programs. Links to the datasets, along with brief narratives explaining the data, will be posted on the home pages for the county and the Sheriff’s Department.

The datasets provide key information regarding the volume of various actions within each of the programs. The data will track items such as officer-involved shootings, types of arrest and use of force among other things.

Cuyahoga County Chief Community Safety and Protection Officer Frank Bova explains why releasing the data is so important. “We are allies and members of the communities we serve. Monitoring our force’s interactions with the public allows us not only to be transparent but allows us to be better public servants.”

The county’s involvement in the White House PDI project is part of our broader effort to increase data transparency and accountability, in order to demonstrate the results and impact of our programs. These initial datasets represent the first stage in our broader effort to increase data transparency. In the future, we will be sharing data that not only shows the work our departments are doing, but also demonstrates the impact of our programs on the community.