TIMES FREE PRESS
By Shelly Bradbury
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — Chattanooga police are taking steps to make some crime and policing data publicly available as part of a nationwide initiative launched by President Barack Obama.
Police are considering posting information online about officer-involved shootings, assaults on officers, use-of-force incidents and complaints so that anyone can access it without filing open records requests.
The department is one of 53 jurisdictions across the country that have committed to Obama’s Police Data Initiative, which aims to increase transparency, trust and accountability through the release of data. The initiative was created in 2015 after a report by the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Police already provide some data through the Chattanooga Public Library’s website. Now, anyone can use the site’s open data portal to examine information on police incident reports dating back to 2005, traffic citation information and 911 calls for service.
“This is not our data,” police Chief of Staff David Roddy said. “This is the community’s data. It’s the community’s actions, victimization, response — we just happen to be the ones responsible for writing that information down. So we need to make that as available and transparent as we can.”
He said police have not yet decided which new datasets to release or what format the data will be in, but that police are looking at officer-involved shootings, assaults on officers, use of force and complaints against officers.