The Sterling Heights Police Department has recently launched a transparency dashboard replete with information on arrests, complaints and use-of-force incidents to establish trust between police and the community.
Chief Dale Dwojakowski said that his department is the first in Macomb County, Michigan, to make such information available to the public. The dashboard builds on the idea of police reforms aiming for greater transparency and accountability.
“Our fundamental philosophy is that transparency is vital to building and maintaining a strong partnership with our community,” Dwojakowski said in a statement.
The dashboard tool is developed by Plano, Texas-based software company Tyler Technologies and can be accessed on the police department’s website. It aims to make all relevant police activities transparent to the public.
“And we know from experience that maintaining our rank as the safest big city in Michigan is all about the collaborative effort between our officers and our residents and businesses. This dashboard will simply continue to enhance the bond of trust between our community and our department,” Dwojakowski said.
The feature will allow visitors to find regularly updated information on police activities within the community, such as calls for service, issued citations and complaints.
The information is also categorized according to race, sex and time frames.
Sterling Heights police officers also plan to utilize the dashboard to follow up on issues and residents’ concerns, as well as maintain up-to-date information on use of force, chase reports and injured officers.
The information updated to the dashboard is fed from a digital database, making reporting and storing information completely paperless.
“Dashboard information is refreshed every five minutes, giving visitors the most up-to-date information possible,” the police chief explained. “As we see how this program develops, the plan is to add even more categories and information, making our department as open and accessible to the public as we can be.”
Officials say that the funds for the dashboard were transferred over from old software the department was no longer using, so the new feature comes at no extra cost.
The Michigan State Police have also devoted a page to their website entirely for accountability and transparency. The page provides regularly updated information about department statistics, use-of-force incidents, traffic stop data and crime clearance data, among others.