The Minneapolis Police Department recently unveiled a new tracking system to provide online access to use-of-force and officer-involved shooting incident data.
MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo, along with department crime analysts, unveiled the latest of the department's public data dashboards on Nov. 14. The data dashboard tallies the amount of use-of-force and officer-involved shooting incidents in the city and its neighborhoods.
Arradondo said posting the data online is meant to promote transparency and boost trust in the community.
“We are constantly seeking [community] input with how we can improve their safety and the City of Minneapolis,” Arradondo said in a press conference Tuesday. “This data is aimed at building the public trust in our police department, enhancing the public trust in our police department, enhancing accountability and highlighting and increasing our professional service.”
The dashboard sorts incidents by precinct, neighborhood, type of force used by the officer and race and gender of the individual who had force used against them. Arradondo said this system is the first of its kind in Minnesota.
The dashboard is updated every morning, and data can be traced back as far as 2008. As of Nov. 19, 0.22 percent of citywide calls to the MPD resulted in use-of-force. At the University of Minnesota, that number was 0.29 percent.
Gary Hill, chair of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, said the data portal will help hold police accountable.
“It’s definitely a step forward for both the police and the public,” Hill said.
The use of force dashboard follows similar systems for information regarding police stops, arrests and crime that MPD rolled out earlier this year. Arradondo said this was something the community had asked for.
“We know that when it comes to the trust and legitimacy our communities want from us, this is key information that they wanted to have access to, so I was committed that we do that,” he said.
Arradondo said any cases of use-of-force or officer-involved shootings are reviewed by MPD supervisors and internal affairs investigators.
“Our residents can see the very same data that we’re analyzing every week with our leaders and supervisors,” he said. “We firmly believe this data will open up new conversations with the communities we serve.”
Use-of-force and officer-involved shooting data also helps shape MPD policies and practices, according to Arradondo.
The data will help the department keep policies, training protocols and disciplinary procedures up-to-date, he said.
“We will look at all of those aspects and also try and see if that weaves into our early intervention system and performance management,” Arradondo said.
Use-of-force and officer-involved shooting data was previously available upon request through MPD’s Public Information Office.
Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality, said the dashboard will encourage the community to analyze the information as well as aid the department.
“The information was always public, but you had to ask for it, and people don’t always know how to do that,” she said. “The City can get flooded with requests. The more the City puts up voluntarily, the fewer requests the City has to deal with, and everybody benefits.”