How Police Can Use the ArcGIS Platform to Improve Public Trust

Blog Post created by b_martinez-esristaff Employee on Jun 12, 2016

By John Beck, Esri Global Law Enforcement Industry Manager


Over the past 18 months, police agencies have faced a crisis of confidence from the communities they serve. Incidents in Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago and cities across the nation have left the public questioning the legitimacy of police and the perceived lack of accountability and transparency of police agencies.


In December 2014, Barack Obama signed an executive order to initiate the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This task force included participants from police, academia, and activist groups and had a fact-finding mission to collect testimonials and information from various stakeholders to identify best practices and recommendations focused on community policing. One of the key recommendations was that police use data and technology to improve public trust in their communities.


As a result of these findings the White House Police Data Initiative (PDI) was kicked off in May of 2015 with the objective of increasing transparency and community trust through Open Data. From an initial 26 cities, there are now 53 jurisdictions sharing over 90 data sets including; use of force, crime incidents, calls for service, arrests, traffic stops, and officer involved shootings.



Open Data is Location Data and police can leverage the Esri technology they already own to start building trust in their own communities. Here’s how:


Setup an ArcGIS Open Data Portal

An ArcGIS Open Data Portal is a quick and easy way you can start sharing data with the public. Once you decide which datasets you want to share you can open them up to automatically update to your public-facing website with our easy-to-use tools. ArcGIS gives you one system to connect to your data and delivers maps and tools that anyone can use. Best of all, ArcGIS Open Data is included with your existing ArcGIS Online subscription!


Public Dashboards

People want answers, not data. With public dashboards you can deliver open analysis tools that integrate maps with charts and widgets that encourage slicing, dicing, filtering and querying of data. Build focused dashboards that put the spotlight on important issues such as ongoing crime trends, police interactions with the public, or prolific offense locations.



Public Mapping Apps

With Web AppBuilder, you can build your first online interactive mapping application in minutes. Customize the look and feel of your apps with configurable themes and your agency’s branding. The key is making it functional and intuitive, and with widgets you can make web apps that improve your citizens’ ability to be informed and ask questions via self-service, online tools that answer inquiries like “who’s my community policing officer?” or “what is happening around me?”



Story Maps

With Story Maps, you can engage with the public in a multimedia format that combines maps, narrative, images and videos to tell a compelling story about the good work that your agency is doing. Use Story Maps to add textual context to data, communicate outreach efforts, enlist the public’s help, or brief the community on upcoming events or initiatives that may affect them.