SB Police Dept. Launches "Transparency Hub" Website

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Regular readers will recall a few posts some time back about a high profile case involving SBD. At the time, there was a great deal of concern amongst residents regarding the climate, culture, structure, and practices of the department, and residents and local media called upon the department and the mayor's office to increase the level of transparency regarding local law enforcement.

I came across this (apparently new) website today, and it looks promising at first glance.  (Full link: http://police-southbend.opendata.arcgis.com/)

Scrolling through, I see information regarding the Board of Public Safety (mayoral appointees who oversee some disciplinary actions involving SBPD officers) -- including documents and information from past meetings, and information about when and where it will next meet. I also see some sort of search feature that makes at least some law enforcement data public, some tools to make that data more user friendly, information and tools regarding (at least some) incidents involving a use of force, and access to legal documents from some past litigation that the city and the department have been involved in. Finally, it appears as if you can access the recent privately commissioned report on the SBPD, and the departments restructuring plan (something that residents requested a few months back, but were unable -- until now -- to access).

I haven't explored these data, tools, and features, and I'm not in a position to be able to say how comprehensive they are. Regardless, it looks like this website is a step in the right direction, and I'm glad to see the city -- especially the SBPD and the mayor's office -- follow up on some of the discussions that have been going on for a long time now.

If readers have a chance to explore this site, or if they have any information regarding how this tools compares with others used in police departments around the country, please comment below with that information.  Again, I'm cautiously optimistic (it doesn't seem like the tool can decrease the level of transparency at the SBPD), but very interested to hear more from those in a better position to evaluate it.