National Police Foundation Publishes Best Practices Guide for Police Open Data

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The National Police Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan, policing
research organization, is pleased to announce the publication of its
five-part best practices guide series Open
Data and Policing
. Drawing from promising practices used by law
enforcement agencies that take part in the Police
Data Initiative
, the guide series aims to guide executives and
members of local law enforcement agencies as they develop and release
open data.


The Police Data Initiative, managed by the National Police
Foundation through funding from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), promotes the use
of open data to encourage joint problem-solving, innovation, enhanced
understanding, and accountability between law enforcement agencies and
the communities they serve.

To date, more than 140 local law enforcement agencies have joined the
Police Data Initiative, and as of November 2018, over 380 open data sets
have been released with many more in development. These open data sets
contain raw, incident-level data that can be accessed online in a
digital machine-readable format. These data sets can be accessed,
downloaded, and analyzed by community members, researchers, and others
at no cost to the user.


According to the National Police Foundation’s Law
Enforcement Executive’s Guide to Open Data
, “with increased
access to accurate information, police officers and community members
alike are empowered to develop a fact-based perspective on
community-police relations by understanding the actual public safety and
crime problems within their jurisdictions and how the police are
responding to those problems.”

Police departments can use open data sets to help them to better engage
with their communities and identify and analyze local challenges, which
can better inform responses to topics such as crime hot spots and
specialized challenges such as hate crimes. Publishing data sets that
address frequently-requested statistics can additionally help to
streamline common media inquiries.

“The leaders involved in this community of practice have taken
extraordinary steps to demonstrate transparency and to engage those they
serve in a partnership for public safety,” said Chief (Ret.) Jim
Bueermann, President of the National Police Foundation. “Open data is
more accessible, timely, and provides a more accurate picture and allows
for informed dialogue to take place between law enforcement and
community members.”


With funding from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Office, the National Police Foundation developed a five-part series Best
Practices Guide, covering topics throughout the process of developing
and releasing open data for the first time through real-word examples.
Topics include creating a data plan and choosing types of data sets to
release, creating new open data sets, sharing open data sets with the
community, regularly updating data, and using open data as an
opportunity for further community engagement.



5-part series:


Open Data


for Opening Data


Open Data


Open Data


Community Partnerships


“Open data can improve transparency and create an informed community,
but it is important to take the time to make sure the data you share is
accurate and ethical,” said Commander Mike Krantz of the Portland Police

Portland PB is one of ten unique agency case studies within the Open
Data and Policing
 series that provide first-hand accounts of open
data development from interviews with “data champions” in each public
safety agency. Case studies include comprehensive narratives from Austin
(TX), Chapel Hill (NC), Ferndale (MI), Lincoln (NE), Long Branch (NJ),
Norman (OK), Northampton (MA), Rochester (NY), South Bend (IN), as well
as many other references to participating agencies in the Police Data
Initiative community.


Agencies interested in viewing the guide or joining the Police Data
Initiative can visit or
contact Garrett Johnson, Research Assistant at the National Police
Foundation, at For
a look at how police departments, as well as community members and
cities, are using open data, please see this feature article on

The National Police Foundation is a U.S.-based, non-partisan,
non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policing through
innovation and science. For nearly 50 years, the National Police
Foundation has conducted research on all aspects of policing, provided
training and technical assistance in all aspects of policing, and has
led the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and
innovation among law enforcement in the U.S. and internationally. For
more information on the National Police Foundation, please visit
or contact James Burch, Executive Vice President, at

This project was supported by cooperative agreement number
2016CRWXK001, awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing
Services, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are
those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official
position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to
specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be
considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of
Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement
discussion of the issues. The Internet references cited in this
publication were valid as of the date of this publication. Given that
URLs and websites are in constant flux, neither the author(s) nor the
COPS Office can vouch for their current validity.