TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a new tool to help the public see records on police interactions in Baltimore County.
On Friday, the county launched an interactive policing data dashboard so that the public could see an officer’s records on use of force and other complaints.
“Open and accessible governments inform our communities and make them stronger. This newest dashboard represents another important step forward in creating a culture of transparency in Baltimore County,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a press release. “I thank Chief Hyatt, the Baltimore County Police Department and our BCSTAT data analytics team for their work in developing these latest tools and for advancing our administration’s ongoing push to provide the public with more insight into policing.”
The dashboard displays more than three years of data on use of force incidents and both citizens and internal complaints.
It shows data like total use-of-force incidents, which are on pace for a sharp decline this year and where complaints against officers originate: mostly from inside the department.
Baltimore Co. launched today a dashboard breaking down its police department's use of force and officer complaint data. You can also use the site to submit either a complaint or a compliment. https://t.co/RlMYU49pwL pic.twitter.com/lbiPhghTEr
— Paul Gessler (@PaulGessler) September 25, 2020
It also shows some disparities; while the county’s population is 26% Black, Black people represent more than half of police complaints and more than two-thirds of use-of-force complaints.
Police union president David Rose of FOP4 in Baltimore County said that has to do with deployment and more interactions in certain areas.
Rose said he has been pushing for published policing data for a long time and welcomed the dashboard. He said the data show officers are judicious in their use of force and take it seriously.
Baltimore County State Senator Charles Sydnor, III, D-District 44, has written a host of police reform bills this year. He said the dashboard is a good step toward improved transparency.
He added the data backs up anecdotal stories from the community.
“Hopefully, this will let us sort of look under the hood and see what other data might give us a good understanding of what’s happening,” Snydor said. “It helps to know what’s going on, what the landscape is, and not just totally dependent on anecdotal information.”
The county’s first-ever Chief Data Officer, Momen Abukhdeir, says the information is just a starting point.
“They’re just important to be able to provide an average individual the ability to answer basic questions,” Abukhdeir said. “You need the data to identify the source of truth.”
Users can see trends over time, demographics of officers or individuals involved in the complaints or use of force incidents and other data.
“The Baltimore County Police Department continues to expand the resources and data available to the residents of the communities we serve,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. “The expansion of this data dashboard will provide greater transparency and serve as another building block towards the advancement of public trust.”
The County Executive’s office says traffic stop data will be available in the coming weeks.