Seattle Police Department leads with insight
Understanding the big picture with the help of data analytics
Imagine the amount and variety of data flowing through the largest law enforcement agency in Washington State. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) had immense data from records management, human resources and other police systems. But there was one major problem: They were not connected.
Another catalyst for integrating data was a federal consent decree that highlighted concerns around “use of excessive force” in Seattle. SPD leadership took this issue very seriously and immediately took steps to understand the problem and address it. But to better understand and manage use of force incidents, the SPD needed a clearer picture of what was happening.
Collecting data about officer behaviour, real-time data from incidents and activities, and other metrics allows leaders to conduct sophisticated analysis and draw insight and intelligence from across the force. What’s more, the SPD could look at facts to determine what was going wrong—and fix it.
Accenture worked with SPD to create a Data Analytics Platform (DAP) that connects data from six disparate source systems, helping to ensure that high-quality data reaches police in an instant. The Department uses the platform to consolidate, prepare and analyse data related to a variety of operational matters—including police calls and incidents, interactions with the public, administrative processes, officer training and workforce management. One of the most innovative features was the ability to look at an officer’s chain of command to identify if there were patterns of use of force common to a particular squad, Sergeant, or Lieutenant.
Now, rather than data sitting in systems, it is synthesised into insights that help in day-to-day operations and investigations. Having clean and reliable data in one place also allows law enforcement professionals to spot crime patterns or inform crime prevention strategies.
For the first time, SPD is able to accurately report out on its use of force, stops and detentions, and crisis events with timely and accurate information. The department took the extra step of pushing this data out publicly to “crowdsource” the analysis to supplement the on-going, internal analytics. This level of transparency is unprecedented.
With timely and accurate data, leaders can improve their ability to track use of force and officer performance across multiple measures, and more importantly, proactively intervene to address concerning patterns.
"This integrated platform has improved our ability to track use of force and officer performance across multiple measures. These analytics not only promote accountability, but also enhance police operations by supporting proper management of personnel—helping SPD officers deliver high-quality policing to the communities they serve."
– KATHLEEN O’TOOLE, Former Chief of Seattle Police
This transformational platform is helping the SPD to unlock the power and value of analytics to enhance its operating and investigative capabilities.
For the first time, SPD is able to accurately report out on its use of force, stops and detentions, and crisis events with timely and accurate information, and more importantly, proactively intervene to address concerning patterns.
Having facts based on integrated data allows police to have situational awareness about policing activities like never before. Furthermore, making this data available to the public via the Department’s website creates a new level of transparency. Police and the community can have more meaningful conversations and find common ground in keeping the streets of Seattle safe.