Fixing the Data Problem in Police Accountability

by Civilytics

“Today, one of the major barriers to actually inclusive civic discourse is the government’s reliance on technical expertise. Even local government services such as police, fire protection, and education, now rely on networks of experts to manage and direct their work. This reliance on expertise results in government that reflects the values of the experts advising it, not those of the broader public it serves. The public comes to view government run this way as something imposed upon it. This is the paradox of democratic accountability — government needs technical expertise to carry out its work, but the public needs to retain oversight to ensure that work reflects the democratic will.”

I seek to change this and to empower community advocates seeking police and justice reform, buy involving them in the design-process of the tools necessary to create this. It will take extra time to achieve this vision and to build a successful platform for democratic accountability in policing, but with your help we can do it. 

Read more below and stay tuned for how to donate. 



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RootProject is partnering with Jared Knowles, founder of Civilytics, to raise funds for a pilot project aimed to empower community advocates seeking police accountability, and justice reform.

Civilytics is an independent data science company that advises institutions on stakeholder-led analytic solutions Its founder, Dr. Jared Knowles is a political scientist researching the challenges that government reliance on technical expertise, including data analysis and performance management, poses to public participation in a democratic society.

In his previous work as a data analyst for the state of Wisconsin, Jared built a machine learning student performance analysis tool for educators across the state. What separated this system from others is that it was/is both highly accurate and used statewide; such widespread use was made possible by a development and design process which incorporated educators input from the outset.

Jared has won awards from the U.S. state government for this work on stakeholder-driven data models to identify students at high risk of dropping out of school. Now, he is to using this process to build the infrastructure needed to support inquiry into the performance of local police departments.

Civilytics long-term road map is to build data tools that put the power of accountability, oversight, and performance management in the hands of the public through open source and transparently developed analytics designed to be accessible and open to all.


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