Article by Charles Craft, Chief of Police, retired
The August 2020, U.S Conference of Mayors “Report on Police Reform and Racial Justice” provides detailed explanations of the six principles of reform the mayors had brought forth in June of 2020.
The report’s introductory statement makes clear the mayors’ position; “If we want action, we need to empower the leadership of our police departments and hold those leaders accountable for delivering the results that our communities want and deserve.” and “We do not have the luxury of inaction, and we must act now”. This expresses an explicit expectation that police leadership work diligently and quickly to achieve reform. To be successful, any reform effort requires personal resolve and the proper tools.
Police Leaders are Finding Reform to Be Challenging
Nationally, police executives are embracing the call for reform; but, are finding it difficult to achieve due in large part to the inability to see their department’s activity as well as the activity of units/shifts/divisions and individual officers, analyze the activity, and then act, in a timely and decisive manner, upon what the analysis reveals. Likewise, establishing transparency through an easy to understand, comprehensive, accessible and timely, public facing communication platform has proven to be equally difficult.
Each of the Conference of Mayors six principles of reform sets forth a number of required actions. Central to each principle is the need for extensive data collection, comprehensive analysis, decisive action and public engagement. Given the expectations, the question facing many police executives is “how do we move forward?”. The necessary tools to support your personal resolve and achieve reform exist in the Arx platform.
How Technology Directly Addresses the Recommendations
Arx is a platform for policing that provides external transparency of police data to the community (Arx Community) and internal accountability management for police leadership(Arx Alert). Additionally, the Arx platform digitizes and centralizes police data—making it incredibly valuable for understanding and improving performance. Here’s my view of how Arx can help police departments achieve the recommendations listed in the report.
Trust and Legitimacy – The overarching principle of all the reform recommendations is the establishment of legitimacy through community trust. The Arx Alert and Arx Community platforms, through their internal management and external communication elements, provide a tangible demonstration of the department’s commitment to reform and gives police executives the data they need to lead their department’s reform efforts.
- Redefining the Role of Local Police and Public Safety – Arx Alert’s comprehensive calls for service analytics provides police and community leaders with the data necessary to make impactful decisions regarding required levels of service, resource allocation and funding.
Sanctity of Life – Protection of life, especially the lives of those who come into contact with police officers, is a core value of all police departments. Tracking and ensuring required training is provided and appropriately completed, evaluating the effectiveness of training, monitoring officer performance in critical situations, ensuring compliance with policies and training protocols, and compiling statistical data that provides the ability to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of critical incident response, are vital in providing police service in a manner consistent with this core value. Arx Alert, through its forms and integration capability, provides police executives and community leaders with powerful insight into department performance and community needs.
Equality and Due Process – Impartial policing, the identification and elimination of bias, the proper and transparent adjudication of citizen complaints, the assurance that stops, searches, citations and arrests are free of discriminatory motivation, and the assurance that officers exhibiting bias and misconduct are discovered, are crucial components of any effort to establish community trust and legitimacy. Arx Alert provides insight into every officer, every action, everyday. Arx is more than an early warning system; it considers a multitude of factors in the context of department as a whole, a unit/platoon/shift/division, and the individual officer, to identify and provide alerts regarding potential problems and to document remediation processes.
Community – Community outreach and community policing efforts, are widely used methods intended to encourage and strengthen community support. Documenting these efforts and measuring their impact are often overlooked. Arx Alert and Arx Community provides departments the tools to do both. Whether through integration with existing systems or the implementation of new data collection tools, Arx will enhance your departments community outreach effectiveness.
- Transparency and Accountability to Reinforce Constitutional Policing – Arx Community, through systems integration and Arx Alert forms, provides easy to understand, real time, automated charts and graphs that promote transparency through public facing dashboards. Internally, Arx Alert ensures the timely and through completion of internal reviews and provides alerts pertaining to officer wellness.
Arx is a Strong Partner for Achieving Police Reform and Racial Justice
Policing is just like every other profession in that having the right data available to us can make us better at what we do. And having that data builds trust within our communities. That trust is so important to achieving these reforms and improvements so that we can truly walk the walk of racial justice in policing. Arx gets it and is the partner that agencies need to make this possible. Check them out and I’m sure you’ll find them ready to provide you with the tools, resources and support necessary to build community trust, effectively manage your department and provide a pathway to reform.