NEW ORLEANS— The Sunlight Foundation – a national, non-profit organization focused on government transparency and accountability – has touted the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) as being “ahead of the curve” when it comes to making criminal justice data available and easily accessible to the public. In an article published online this month, the Sunlight Foundation called the amount of data the NOPD publishes online “uncommon” and said the department has “excelled in producing criminal justice data.”
An excerpt from the article reports that:
“Since 2011, the NOPD has made its detailed calls for service data, also known as 911 call data, available on New Orleans’ open data portal. This data is downloadable in many open formats and includes information on location, time, event type and case status. In addition to the calls for service data, the NOPD publishes quarterly Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics and daily major offense logs in PDF format. This amount of publicly available information is uncommon for a municipality and places New Orleans ahead of the curve.”
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“I am pleased that our efforts to build trust with the community through an aggressive approach to transparency continue to gain momentum and national recognition,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “While we’ve come a long way, we have further to go, and we will keep looking for ways to provide more criminal justice information to the public.”
Earlier this month, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison attended a White House Policy Data Initiative Workshop in Washington, D.C. As part of the workshop, Harrison participated in a roundtable discussion with Senior Administration, White House officials, and leaders from other cities to discuss ways to leverage technology and data innovation as a means to increase internal police accountability and external transparency.
Public meetings provide further transparency
In May 2010, the NOPD opened COMSTAT meetings to the public. The meetings are led by senior NOPD leadership and provide an update on crime activity and police strategies for combating crime. Meetings are held once a week in each district, including a department-wide COMSTAT meeting at NOPD Headquarters.