With an already established technology presence and growing startup scene, the City of Indianapolis was looking to develop tools that would improve data analysis, transparency and increase public engagement, aimed at improving safety for all its residents. With access to RMS (Report Management System), CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch), and IA (Internal Affairs) data sets, the city partnered with Code for America to explore ways in which they could combine data, technology, and public safety.

Research

The Fellows spent the month of February learning about and talking with the many departments within public safety. The team considered a wide range of potential projects from increasing the safety of transient and homeless children, to better prison reentry coordination between the Sheriff, community, and non-profits. Ultimately, the team decided that a partnership with IMPD (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) was where they could have the most impact in their year as fellows.

The fellows and representatives from IMPD were& invited to attend a convening of police chiefs and other members of the law enforcement community at the White House. Indianapolis and 20 other communities raised their hands to participate in the President’s Police Data Initiative. As part of the initiative, the city committed to opening up data sets that had never before been released, including officer involved shootings and use of force. The fellows saw a clear opportunity to use the release of these data sets to open communication between IMPD and the Indianapolis community. They spent the remainder of the year working with different resident groups, IMPD, and the Department of Public Safety providing context for the data and exploring ways to share it publicly.

Solution

Over the course of a weekend in November, team Indy launched their site, Project Comport. Comport is tool for law enforcement agencies to open their data and provide transparency to their citizens. The site features three major datasets: citizen complaints, uses of force, and officer involved shootings. There are two major goals of the site:

  • To provide a base level of examination of the data so that people have better context to understand it
  • To provide raw versions of cleaned, privacy conscious, data that is easy to download for those who wish to use it for further analysis

Sustainability

Code for America is furthering the work team Indianapolis started and planning to pilot Comport with 3 more law enforcement agencies in 2016 in hopes of seeing greater police accountability and transparency throughout the US. The work that the fellowship team did to increase community engagement and transparency in the City will live on with the start of the Indianapolis Brigade and the opening of the Indianapolis Regional Data Portal.