How Arx helped Detroit comply with Dept. of Justice Consent Decree

The Detroit Police Department was facing Department of Justice Consent Decrees due to issues identified with use of force, arrests, witness detention and holding conditions. They needed help to regain trust and improve accountability—and to eliminate the high costs of these issues.


$124M in Lawsuit Payouts and It Was Only Getting Worse

From 1987 to 2000, the City of Detroit paid over $124 million in police misconduct lawsuits, averaging almost $10 million per year. In 2000, then-Mayor Dennis Archer requested a probe after the police were involved in 47 fatal shootings between 1995 and 2000, including six unarmed suspects. The probe resulted in two Consent Decrees from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The first Consent Decree dealt with issues found in Use of Force, Arrest and Witness Detention. The second Decree addressed the Conditions of Confinement in their holding facilities. The Consent Decrees forced Detroit to find solutions to these issues and carried a financial penalty until they did. Additionally, a monitor had to be paid by Detroit upwards of $2.3 million per year.

Within the Consent Decrees, the DOJ mandated for Detroit to implement a Management Awareness Software (MAS) platform. This was a top priority for the City of Detroit, but after attempting over several years to do this internally and failing, they realized they needed outside help.


Arx Alert Fit the Requirements to Mitigate Risk

Detroit came to Arx to provide them with an internal, fully integrated Risk Management Awareness Software (MAS) platform. Detroit was looking for a system to address the Detroit Police Department’s three primary areas of concern:

  1. To ensure the system met the compliance of the Consent Decree.
  2. That the system would be accurate in proactively identifying risk.
  3. That their organization of 2,500 officers would adopt the technology efficiently and effectively.

In order to meet the compliance of the Consent Decree, the MAS system needed to identify risk factors from 36 datasets in near real-time. The process Detroit had been using was arduous and often inaccurate since it relied on human intervention to replicate data. Data replication was required because critical datasets, such as use of force, were captured in paper form.

The first step for Arx was digitization of their manual processes and form collection as well as data integration to existing systems. Once Arx had a centralized database of officer data, that information was brought into the Arx Alert platform for an accurate presentation of the activities of individual officers as well as performance by district.

With Arx Alert, Detroit supervisors can:

  • Review and approve forms

  • See team activity for traffic citations, arrests, calls for service and overtime
  • Understand their team’s data according to demographics
  • See alerts for possible wellness or behavior issues of individual officers
  • Manage internal reviews and remediation efforts


Improved Accountability Significantly Reduced Lawsuits, Complaints and Payouts

As a result of deploying Arx Alert MAS, The Detroit Police Department experienced a decline in citizen complaints, in officer use of force, in lawsuits and in lawsuit payouts. In just the first year of using Arx Alert the department saw a 17.5% decline in use of force across all applicable categories. By the time Detroit entered into a Consent Decree transition agreement, use of force was reduced by 22.5% across the spectrum.

In addition to the reduction in tangible risk categories, the Detroit Police also had access to their complete digital dataset, enabling additional benefits such as running time keeping reporting from a single system as compared with multiple systems. It also saved officers time.

Commander Sims from Detroit’s 12th Precinct noted, “Arx Alert significantly reduced the time my officers had to spend on ‘paperwork’ and got them back to doing what they signed up for—keeping our community safe.”

Arx Alert held supervisors accountable and ensured that proper intervention was performed and any remediation was completed. The U.S. Department of Justice was impressed with the outcomes and correspondingly eliminated the Consent Decrees. In their report it was stated, “With Arx, DPD supervisors’ ability to identify and correct officers’ at-risk behavior became easier, and was more directly emphasized as a critical part of supervisors’ job duties.”

Clear 3 Year ROI for Detroit

  • 36% reduction in citizen complaints
  • 22% reduction in use of force
  • 62% reduction in the number of lawsuits
  • $5.1M saved in lawsuit payouts that were eliminated or won by Detroit thanks to Arx data
  • Happier officers thanks to digitized systems

The value of Arx Alert for the Detroit Police Department goes far beyond cost savings. Commander Sims noted what was most important, “Our public image has improved dramatically. The community saw that we were fixing our problems and we earned back their trust.” Detroit is now taking their efforts a step further with Arx Community to provide data transparency to the community via a dashboard accessible to the public.


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