The Paradox of Police Data

Authors

  • Stacy Wood University of Pittsburgh

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5334/kula.34

Keywords:

police, critical data studies, platforms, open data, public data, public records

Abstract

This paper considers the history and politics of ‘police data.’ Police data, I contend, is a category of endangered data reliant on voluntary and inconsistent reporting by law enforcement agencies; it is also inconsistently described and routinely housed in systems that were not designed with long-term strategies for data preservation, curation or management in mind. Moreover, whereas US law enforcement agencies have, for over a century, produced and published a great deal of data about crime, data about the ways in which police officers spend their time and make decisions about resources—as well as information about patterns of individual officer behavior, use of force, and in-custody deaths—is difficult to find. This presents a paradoxical situation wherein vast stores of extant data are completely inaccessible to the public. This paradoxical state is not new, but the continuation of a long history co-constituted by technologies, epistemologies and context.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Stacy Wood, University of Pittsburgh

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. I am a critical scholar of archives, information policy and information studies who engages with the legal and cultural aspects of records and technology. I am particularly focused on historical understandings of information and communication technologies within the context of policing in the United States.

References

Alpert, Geoffrey P., and William C. Smith. 1994. “How Reasonable Is the Reasonable Man: Police and Excessive Force.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 85(2): 481–501. Autumn. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1144107

Angwin, Julia. 2016. “Make Algorithms Accountable.” New York Times, August 1, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/opinion/make-algorithms-accountable.html.

Arcidiacono, Davide, and Giuseppe Reale. 2017. “The Open Data Movement: Young Activists between Data Disclosure and Digital Reputation.” Partecipazione e Conflitto, 9(3): 918–48. https://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/paco/article/view/16661/14324.

Axon. n.d. “Evidence.com.” Accessed January 10, 2018. https://www.axon.com/products/evidence.

Baer, Harold, Jr., and Joseph P. Armao. 1995. “The Mollen Commission Report: An Overview.” New York Law School Law Review, 40(1–2): 73.

Banks, Duren, Joshua Hendrix, Matthew Hickman, and Tracey Kyckelhahn. 2016. “Program Report.” National Sources of Law Enforcement Employment Data. NCJ 249681, Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://www.researchconnections.org/icpsrweb/instructors/biblio/series/169/resources/121823?sortBy=1.

Barnes, Harry Elmer. 1921. “The Historical Origin of the Prison System in America.” Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, 12(1): 35–60. May. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1133652

Bellovin, Steven M., Matt Blaze, Susan Landau, and Stephanie K. Pell. 2016. “It’s Too Complicated: The Technological Implications of IP-based Communications on Content/Non-content Distinctions and the Third-Party Doctrine.” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 30(1). September.

Bruer, Wesley. 2016. “DOJ to enable nationwide collection of use-of-force data.” CNN Politics, October 13, 2016. https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/13/politics/police-force-justice-department-loretta-lynch/index.html.

Campaign Zero. 2015. “We Can End Police Violence in America.” https://www.joincampaignzero.org/vision/.

Comey, James. 2015. “Speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.” Published October 28, 2015 by The IACP. Accessed February 2, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxNnCpOX90M.

COPS Office. 2015. “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Implementation Guide: Moving from Recommendations to Action.” Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Copwatch. n.d. Accessed January 10, 2018. http://www.copwatch.org/.

Cranefield, Jocelyn, Oliver Robertson, and Gillian Oliver. 2014. “Value in the Mash: Exploring the Benefits, Barriers and Enablers of Open Data Apps.” Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Tel Aviv, Israel, June 9–11, 2014. https://aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2014/.

Crunden, Robert Morse. 1982. Ministers of Reform: The Progressives’ Achievement in American Civilization, 1889–1920. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Currie, Morgan, Britt S. Paris, Irene Pasquetto, and Jennifer Pierre. 2016. “The Conundrum of Police Officer-Involved Homicides: Counter-Data in Los Angeles County.” Big Data & Society, 3(2): 1–14. December. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951716663566

Davies, Tim. 2010. “Open Data, Democracy and Public Sector Reform.” A Look at Open Government Data Use from data.gov.uk. https://www.opendataimpacts.net/report/.

Fagan, Jeffrey, and Garth Davies. 2000. “Street Stops and Broken Windows: Terry, Race, and Disorder in New York City.” Urban Law Journal, 28(2).

Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2017. “Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January–June, 2017.” Accessed January 14, 2018. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/preliminary-report.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2017. “The National Use-of-Force Data Collection.” CJIS Link, June 15, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2018. https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/cjis-link/the-national-use-of-force-data-collection.

Gupta, Shashi Kant, and Faisal Siddiqui. 2014. “Secure Data Storage and Retrieval in the Cloud.” International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology, 3(10). https://ijret.org/volumes/2014v03/i22/IJRET20140322008.pdf.

Henry, Vincent E. 2002. The COMPSTAT Paradigm: Management Accountability in Policing, Business, and the Public Sector. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.

Huey, Laura, Kevin Walby, and Aaron Doyle. 2006. “Cop Watching in the Downtown Eastside: Exploring the Use of (Counter) Surveillance as a Tool of Resistance.” In: Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life, Monahan, Torin (Eds.), 149–65. New York, NY and London: Routledge.

Jenkins, Philip. 1984. “Eugenics, Crime and Ideology: The Case of Progressive Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 51(1): 64–78. January

Johnson, Jeffrey Alan. 2014. “From Open Data to Information Justice.” Ethics and Information Technology, 16(4): 263–74. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-014-9351-8

Kanno-Youngs, Zolan, and Gerald Porter, Jr. 2018. “Gang Databases are the Latest Controversial Policing Tool.” Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/gang-databases-are-the-latest-controversial-policing-tool-1532597400.

Kelling, George L., and James Q. Wilson. 1982. “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety.” Atlantic, March 1982. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/03/broken-windows/304465/.

Klinger, David A., and Rod K. Brunson. 2009. “Police Officers’ Perceptual Distortions during Lethal Force Situations: Informing the Reasonableness Standard.” Criminology & Public Policy, 8(1): 117–40. February. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9133.2009.00537.x

Library of Congress. “African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition.” Accessed December 12, 2017. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/anedub/.

Meskell, Matthew W. 1999. “An American Resolution: The History of Prisons in the United States from 1777 to 1877.” Stanford Law Review, 51(4): 839–65. April. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1229442

Milan, Stefania, and Lonneke van der Velden. 2016. “The Alternative Epistemologies of Data Activism.” Digital Culture & Society, 2(2): 57–74. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14361/dcs-2016-0205

Paris, Britt S., and Jennifer Pierre. 2017. “Naming Experience: Registering Resistance and Mobilizing Change with Qualitative Tools.” InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 13(1). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/02d9w4qd.

Poggio, Eugene, Stephen D. Kennedy, Jan M. Chaiken, and Kenneth E. Carlson. 1985. Blueprint for the Future of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program: Final Report of the UCR Study. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Police Foundation. 2016. “History.” Accessed December 14, 2017. https://www.policefoundation.org/.

Reaves, Brian. 2015. “Local Police Departments, 2013: Personnel, Policies, and Practices. Office of Justice Programs Bulletin.” Accessed December 10, 2017. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd13ppp.pdf.

Rosen, Lawrence. 1995. “The Creation of the Uniform Crime Report: The Role of Social Science.” Social Science History, 19(2): 215–38. Summer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1171511

Schoolcraft, Adrian. 2013. “Right to Remain Silent: Act Two; Is That a Tape Recorder in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Unhappy to See Me?” Interview by Ira Glass. This American Life. September 28, 2013. Audio, 41:00. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/414/right-to-remain-silent/act-two-0.

Sherman, Lawrence W. 2013. “The Rise of Evidence-Based Policing: Targeting, Testing, and Tracking.” Crime and Justice, 42(1): 377–451. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/670819

Smith, Megan, and Roy L. Austin, Jr. 2015. “Launching the Police Data Initiative.” White House (blog), May 15, 2015. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2015/05/18/launching-police-data-initiative.

Stoler, Ann L. 1989. “Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th-Century Colonial Cultures.” American Ethnologist, 16(4): 634–60. November. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.1989.16.4.02a00030

Taser International Inc. 2017. “TASER Makes Two Acquisitions to Create ‘Axon AI.’” PR Newswire, February 9, 2017. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/taser-makes-two-acquisitions-to-create-axon-ai-300404780.html.

Vlahos, James. 2012. “The Department of Pre-Crime.” Scientific American, 306(1): 62–67. January. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26014159.

Walden, Ian. 2013. “Accessing Data in the Cloud: The Long Arm of the Law Enforcement Agent.” In: Privacy and Security for Cloud Computing, Pearson, Siani, and Yee, George (Eds.), 45–71. London: Springer Nature. SpringerLink. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-4189-1_2

Walsh, William F. 2001. “Compstat: An Analysis of an Emerging Police Managerial Paradigm.” Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 24(3): 347–62. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/13639510110401717

Wardell, Clarence, and Denice Ross. 2016. “The Police Data Initiative Year of Progress: How We’re Building on the President’s Call to Leverage Open Data to Increase Trust between Police and Citizens.” Medium. https://medium.com/@ObamaWhiteHouse/the-police-data-initiative-year-of-progress-how-we-re-building-on-the-president-s-call-to-leverage-3ac86053e1a9.

Williams, Stacie, and Jarrett Drake. 2017. “Power to the People: Documenting Police Violence in Cleveland.” In: “Critical Archival Studies.” Michelle Caswell, Ricardo Punzalan, and T-Kay Sangwand (eds.), Special issue, Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.33

Wines, E. C. (Eds.) 1871. Transactions of the National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline Held at Cincinnati, Ohio, October 12–18, 1870. Albany: Argus Company.

Wood, Stacy. 2016. “Police Body Cameras: Emotional Mediation and the Economies of Visuality.” In: Emotions, Technology, and Design, Tettegah, Sharon Y., and Umoja, Safiya Noble (eds.), 227–39. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801872-9.00011-9.

Wood, Stacy E. 2017. “Police Body Cameras and Professional Responsibility: Public Records and Private Evidence.” Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture, 46(1): 41–51. April. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pdtc-2016-0030.

Downloads

Published

2018-11-29

How to Cite

Wood, Stacy. 2018. “The Paradox of Police Data”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 2 (1):9. https://doi.org/10.5334/kula.34.

Issue

Section

Research Articles