Many law enforcement departments around the country have already made major efforts to improve accountability, communication, and trust through more transparent policies and procedures. To address these challenges, agencies must take proactive steps to make transparency a SOP. Some components of a successful program include:
Developing accountability mechanisms to measure officer commitment toward developing transparent relationships with the public
Conveying important issues to frontline employees and the community
Sharing data and findings with officers and the public to ensure a feedback loop can be created to help improve future interactions and policies
It is easier to support these efforts using technology to reach community members in a manner they prefer. A recent Klaviyo study showed that Americans have been texting more (51% increase) since the pandemic. Implementing automated text notifications and surveys can help agencies provide better service and improve transparency. This access to quick community feedback can foster trust and even lift staff morale.
SPIDR Tech’s Feedback Board is a new capability now available to clients within the Insights module (Engage). With the platform, agencies have a better way to share this information publicly in real time compared to monthly or quarterly reports, or even social media posts.
Transparency Builds Trust
Law enforcement relies heavily on the public's trust to execute their duties effectively. Facilitating openness and transparency allows for the rebuilding of accountability and trust. ArcGIS Solutions notes “Many agencies are seeking new ways to improve their relationship with the communities they serve… [they] are also engaging the community more deeply and using their feedback to drive policing priorities and enforcement policies.”
Community engagement and policing efforts should focus on collaborating with the public and keeping a more open line of communication. It is important to have an evaluation method after a community member-police interaction occurs. In the past, an individual would need to speak to an officer or staff, make a call, send a letter, or even write to the local newspaper. With new technology, we thankfully have more efficient ways to provide our impressions ranging from online forms to social media to text surveys.
The results from digital feedback platforms offer a wealth of insights your agency can use to make operational improvements, boost morale, and build trust.
Technology Supports Transparency
Modern technology has changed the way police departments gather feedback from the community. These new tools allow agencies to easily collect responses about their service from community members, helping them to improve trust and increase transparency. One example of such technology is text surveys, which can gather feedback from individuals immediately after their interactions with officers, dispatchers, and others. Automating this type of request paired with preferred communication channels makes it easier for the reporting party or victim to recall the details and evaluate the service they received.
The results of these surveys can be shared internally to reinforce positive behavior and boost morale. When shared externally with the community, transparency can build trust. However, the methods for publicly communicating this feedback have been cumbersome – social media posts with screenshots, printouts on a bulletin board at the station, line items in reports, etc.
Improving Trust with Technology
The new SPIDR Tech Feedback Board offers a few options for easily sharing survey ratings, trends, and comments across the agency and with community members. This capability has been enabled for our clients that can be configured to match the agency’s brand, to display their ratings and responses on screens in their stations. Some have decided to connect public-facing TVs in their lobbies or elsewhere.
With the growing challenges of low morale and a wary community, implementing the Feedback Board can have a significant positive impact on a law enforcement agency. This new capability helps officers and dispatchers receive recognition for their work while providing visible metrics to encourage good service. For the community, a shared board provides additional transparency into operations and what people think about it.