Yes! About time!

We are trying to deliver three measures.

  1. A measure of trust…
  2. A measure of the sense of safety… your neighborhood… in the city at large.
  3. Your overall approval, job approval of the police department. John Linder

I ran across the following article in the Marshall Report on January 29 to be quite interesting; in fact, an answer to one of my dreams that police would be able to measure improvements like community trust and feelings of safety by community members.

After all, if I am going to advocate putting various strategies in place to improve the trust-level of community police officers it is only right and proper that we develop ways to MEASURE those improvements. I say this because I have for years heard the voice of one of my mentors, W. Edwards Deming, booming in my head, “Yes, but how do you know, David?”

The stunningly poor methods we have of measuring police effectiveness must be addressed. The annual Uniform Crime Report is so out of date and so unable to measure the things that need to be assessed.

Here’s Simone Weichselbaum’s report and interview with John Linder:

John Linder, NYPD Pollster
“Blessed by the Obama administration, and spurred by Ferguson and other evidence of a gulf between police and the public, community policing is enjoying a comeback, and with it, a new interest in polling as a policing tool.

“John Linder, now a consultant with the New York Police Department, has been surveying big city cops since the early 1990s. In what he describes as the biggest project of his career, Linder is developing a real-time measure of police-community trust, called a ‘sentiment meter’…

What exactly is a sentiment meter?

“If it works, it will be a system that will deliver to police and their executives real-time measures of public attitudes — whether trust is going up or down, whether the sense of safety is going up or down, and whether the job approval of the [police department] is going up or down—by neighborhood. The metrics of CompStat, which have always included crime and police activity, may in the foreseeable future include measures of trust, safety, and the job approval of the NYPD by every sector of the city on a continuous basis.

“If the NYPD adopts your plan, then what? Will police commanders lose their jobs if the community satisfaction score in a particular precinct is low?

“Not initially, I don’t think. It will help precinct commanders take corrective action if these metrics are going in the wrong direction. It’s a tool for them to have a reality check coming from the people they’re trying to serve and protect…”

“So how can that work?

“We are trying to deliver three measures.

  1. A measure of trust of the police.
  2. A measure of the sense of safety in your neighborhood versus your sense of safety in the city at large.
  3. Your overall approval, job approval rating of the police department.

The early indications are that we will be able to deliver what the Commissioner is looking for in real time?

“Are you kidding? In real time?

“This is not traditional polling. This is an algorithmically governed sentiment meter that is gathering tens of thousands of data points 24/7, 365 days a year…

“Why did it take so long for policing experts like yourself to fold community trust into the metrics?

“I’m not a policing expert; I have cultural change tools strong leaders can use. But the answer to your question about why so long:

  • We have the technology available now to do it.
  • Crime is low enough that to drive it lower we need to try new things.
  • This police commissioner has determined that he needs to manage the police department in a way that builds trust rather than decreases it…”

This is precisely the tool American policing needs to begin to move forward. If we don’t know if we are effective in raising citizen’s feelings of safety and trust in our police we will never get to where we want to be – a police of and for the people.

  • Twenty-first century police leaders not only ask their citizen-customers how they are doing, but also the men and women who work for them.

[You can read the full article HERE.]

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