Public Agencies Head Online to Poll Residents, Gather Input

Over the past few years, law enforcement agencies across the United States have increasingly focused on openness, transparency, and communication with the residents they serve, thanks to the White House’s 21st Century Policing Task Force’s Police Data Initiative. As of April 2016, 53 jurisdictions, covering more than 41 million people, have committed to the Police Data Initiative, with over 90 data sets released to date.

Several organizations have pledged to support the Initiative by providing digital tools to reduce barriers to opening and interpreting data, including Socrata, Safe Software, GovDelivery, OpenGov, and Nextdoor. Some of these organizations have already rolled out their tools, with more to come as the initiative continues.

Two weeks ago, Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods, announced a brand new feature in support of the initiative: Nextdoor Polls for Public Agencies. This new feature allows any Nextdoor agency partner to poll verified residents in their jurisdiction on topics of importance and analyze the results by police district, section, or neighborhood. Agencies and residents can collaborate on important issues, develop citywide programs of interest, and take actionable steps to make their cities even better places to live.

Several police departments and city agencies have piloted Nextdoor Polls in the past few months to better understand their residents’ needs and concerns. These agencies include the Atlanta Police Department, Austin Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, Prince George’s County (Maryland) Police Department, Sacramento (California) Police Department, and the City of St. Louis.

Topics polled varied from whether or not residents felt safe in their neighborhoods to initiatives residents wanted their department to focus on. Nextdoor released the following graphic to illustrate their partners’ findings.

 “Having the ability to easily communicate with residents is imperative to our continued community policing efforts and adds another layer of transparency between our department and our community,” said Art Acevedo, Chief of Police in Austin. “With Nextdoor Polls, we can connect directly with residents, gather their input in a structured way, and work together to make our city an even better place to call home.”

If your public agency is interested in joining, contact Nextdoor to get started.

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