Boosting transparency around police use of force

Data collection problems can stifle reform efforts that rely on data, such as the New Jersey effort to create an "early warning" system for abuse

In 2019, a national foundation asked for help for a state attorney general’s office to modernize its collection, aggregation, and publication of law enforcement (LE) use of force data. This undertaking is large in scope — covering the entire state and over 500 law enforcement agencies — but seemingly simple in need: better data collection.

Complexities arose, however, when navigating the various different systems (both technical and human) in place, working with limited state funding, and designing a sustainable and scalable solution (ie a collection mechanism that could be reused for other LE data).

Eventually the key deliverables were a list of civic-oriented data collection and workflow solutions and a reverse RFP — a statement of goals, not features — for SaaS vendors to compete against.