If We Can Rate Uber Drivers, Why Not Police?

Following the tenets of Procedural Justice can significantly improve the quality of police-citizen contacts.

Over the past decade, I have tried to make the argument that police need to have real-time feedback regarding the quality of their contacts with citizens.

This was something I did for many years during my 21 years as chief of the Madison, Wisc. Police Department. To me, it just made sense. If I was interested in improving things, I had to know what my “customers” thought of my service.

What I did was captured in my book, “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off….”

Currently, a few departments across the countryside using the program called Guardian Score.

Another program available to police is called Open Policing which focuses on Procedural Justice concepts. All in all, a vital public policy question remains:

Here’s a recent news item about Guardian Score and how it is working in one community.

Why are we able to rate Uber drivers and not our police officers?

“After every significant encounter with residents, officers in Warrenton [VA] are required to hand out a QR code, which is on the back of their business card, asking for feedback on the interaction. Through a series of questions, citizens can use a star-based system to rate officers on their communication, listening skills and fairness. The responses are anonymous and can be completed any time after the interaction to encourage people to give honest assessments. The program, called Guardian Score, is supposed to give power to those stopped by police in a relationship that has historically felt one-sided — and to give police departments a tool to evaluate their force on more than arrests and tickets…”

Read the full news article HERE.

Read also about the Stanford Open Policing Project.

We talk a lot about the importance of trust and support in policing a free society. The reality is that having a high degree of trust and support is totally dependent on how citizens (ALL citizens) of a community perceive their police.

If we are serious about improving police in our nation it is vitally necessary for them to know how they are doing with respect to their contacts with community members and not just about whether crime is going up or down compared to the past year.

My experience of three decades tells me that when police treat community members with respect and fairness, they will be more successful in building and maintaining safe communities — AND create a work environment that is more safe for individual officers!

It just makes sense, doesn’t it?


  1. The law enforcement agencies and a female judge in Boward County, Florida got in trouble because they were illegally communicating with each other on rating the drivers that got pulled over by the police. The police would make certain remarks on the back of the ticket copies whether the driver was rude, hostile, cooperative, etc. The judge would then use that secret communication to punish the driver or be lenient with the driver.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.