Sep 1, 2020 — roundtables about national standards, best practices, and building The goal of this and future work is to enhance public safety, promote.
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1 September 2020 Understanding Police Enforcement: A Multi city 911 Analysis Report Submitted to Arnold Ventures S. Rebecca Neusteter, Megan O™Toole, Mawia Khogali, Abdul Rad, Frankie Wunschel, Sarah Scaffidi, Marilyn Sinkewicz , Maris Mapolski, Paul DeGrandis, Daniel Bodah, and Henessy Pineda
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2 Contents 5 Executive summary 11 Acknowledgments 12 Chapter 1 : Introduction 13 Research questions and hypotheses 16 Methodology 19 Recommendations and next steps 21 Chapter 2 : The 911 call processing system: A review of the literature as it relates to policing 22 The history of 911 24 The technology of emergencies 30 Challenges for researchers 32 Findings from the literature 48 New options within police departments 51 Conclusion 53 Appendix 1: Summary of research 58 Chapter 3 : 911 system processing map report 59 Research questions 59 Methods 60 Limitations 61 911 system processing maps 65 Conclusion 66 Appendix 3A: Site profiles 68 Appendix 3B: Document index 71 Appendix 3C: CCPD document matrix 72 Appendix 3D: TPD document matrix 73 Appendix 3E: General 911 system processing map 74 Appendix 3F: Camden 911 system processing map 76 Appendix 3G: Tucson 911 system processing map
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3 78 Chapter 4 : 911 audio analysis report 78 Research question 78 Methods 80 Limitations 80 Results 84 Conclusion 85 Appendix 4A: Customer service and information gathering scoring sheets 86 Appendix 4B: Camden audio analysis detailed coding table 10 0 Appendix 4C: Tucson audio analysis detailed coding table 12 4 Chapter 5 : Descriptive analysis of 911 calls for service and officer -initiated activity, overview and top-line findings 12 4 Section 1: Overview and top-line findings 124 Research questions 124 Approach 128 Limitations 129 Findings 132 Conclusion 13 3 Section 2: Site -specific analysis 13 3 Camden County data 145 Tucson data 158 Detroit data 167 New Orleans data 177 Seattle Data 183 Conclusion 184 Section 3: A further descriptive exploration 184 Camden County data 198 Tucson data 219 Appendix 5 A: Detroit open data 225 Appendix 5 B: New Orleans open data
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4 233 Appendix 5 C: Seattle open data 241 Conclusion 242 Chapter 6 : 911 outcomes analysis report 242 Section 1 Findings 242 Research questions 242 Data and analytic approach 243 Findings 264 Conclusion and future directions 266 Section 2 Appendices 266 Appendix 6A: Supporting figures 272 Appendix 6B: Methodo logy 284 Chapter 7 : Applying natural language processing to 911 narrative data to inform data collection, analysis, and public safety response 284 Research questions 285 Data , methods, techniques, and analytics approach 289 Limitations 290 Findings 294 Conclusion 296 Chapter 8 : A national convening to understand police enforcement through 911 operations and analysis 297 Challenges to the 911 system 298 Spotlighting new innovations 300 Opportunities for growth 301 Conclusion 302 Appendix 8: List of participating organizations 303 Chapter 9 : Policy and practice recommendations for improving policing, 911 call-taking, and dispatching procedures 304 Policy recommendations and practitioner innovations 315 Conclusion and next steps
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5 Executive Summary S. Rebecca Neusteter, Sarah Scaffidi , Abdul Rad, and Daniel Bodah At least 240 million calls to 911 are made each year. 1 Responding to these calls takes up a sizable amount of police officers™ time, even though relatively few calls stem from crimes in progress. Despite their prevalence in police work, little research about the nature of 911 calls or how police respond is available. Basic information, such as the number of calls and reasons they are made, how call volumes v ary across different call types, and what happens from the time a call is placed to when an officer arrives on the scene, is unknown. The 911 call system play s a critical role in policing practice and should be studied, not only to measure performance but also to aid in decision -making processes, inform strategic decisions, and understand opportunities to advance call processing and alternative responses. 2 The current study was designed to define the landscape of 911 calls for police service and answer fun damental questions about how communications personnel and police respond to them. To begin, the study explores 911 call processing by examining what happens when 911 calls are answered and what training, protocols, standards, and management possibilities e xist at each stage of 911 call processing. The study also examines how accurately 911 calls are categorized and handled when received by public safety personnel. Questions about the overall volume and rate of 911 calls for service, typical response time, a nd ordinary duration of responses to 911 calls, as well as how these vary by the call type, time, and location are also considered. To understand how characteristics of 911 calls impact police officers in the field, the study analyzes what proportion of of ficers™ activities represent responses to 911 calls versus those proactively initiated by officers. The study examines how 911 calls are resolved by identifying the categories of dispositions and their frequency, as well as how they vary by call volume, ty pe, time , and location. The ultimate outcomes of police contacts initiated by 911 calls are also reviewed to understand what factors have the greatest contribution to 911 call responses. In addition, the current research examines communications systems amo ng call -takers, dispatchers, and police officers in the field to determine whether all information relevant to outcomes is being effectively conveyed. The study further explores whether it is possible to improve outcomes for police and civilians by 1 National Emergency Number Association (NENA) , ﬁ9 -1-1 Statistics,ﬂ https:/ /www.nena.org/?page=911Statistics . 2 National 911 Program, Review of Nationwide 911 Data Collection, 2018 , https://www.911.gov/pdf/National_911_Program_Review_of_Nationwide_Data_Collection_2017.pdf ; Police Data Initiative, ﬁAbout ,ﬂ https://www.policedatainitiative.org/about/ .
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6 identif ying 911 calls that may be handled more appropriately by a response other than sending sworn officers. The following research activities provided details about the 911 landscape to address these questions: 1) an examination of prior research on 911 calls in the policing context; 2) an analysis of 911 call and computer -aided dispatch (CAD) data to identify 911 call types, processing, and outcomes in Camden County (NJ) and Tucson (AZ) police and public safety communic ations departments; 3) the development of a system processing map to trace calls from receipt through closure, which was achieved using data from focus groups, interviews, audio analysis of a sample of 911 calls, and field observations in Camden County Police Department (CCPD), Camden County Communications Center (CCCC), Tucson Police Department (TPD), and Tucson Public Safety Communications Division (PSCD); 4) an examination of publicly ava ilable 911 call and CAD data from Detroit, New Orleans, and Seattle; and 5) a convening of police, emergency communications practitioners, and other stakeholders to contextualize these findings and explore alternatives to sworn police response. The Vera Inst itute of Justice™s (Vera™s) review of the existing literature on 911 calls for service (detailed in Chapter 2) reveals a need for innovation in this space, as well as more research exploring key features of the system (such as call volumes, types, and outc omes at the national, state, and local levels). Since the birth of 911 in the late 1960s and its congressionally mandated national deployment in 1999, the emergency communications field has become professionalized and transformed by new technologies, such as Enhanced 911 (E911) and Next -Generation 911 (NG911). 3 However, much remains to be learned about how 911 calls are processed, how personnel are trained, and where opportunities for alternative responses need development or can be expanded. As a first st ep toward understanding how 911 calls are processed, Vera created a system processing map. This map (given in Chapter 3) shows that, when a community member calls 3 E911 and NG911 attempt to use advances in technology, specifically mobile phones and smartphones, to provide more complete information (i.e., more precise location coordinates) to 911 communications centers. For additional information, please visit ﬁEnhan ced 911 Œ Wireless Services,ﬂ Federal Communications Commission, https://www.fcc.gov/general/enhanced -9-1-1-wireless -services ; and ﬁNext Generation 911,ﬂ 911.gov, https://www.911.gov/issue_nextgeneration911.html .
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8 The five sites have a wide range of dispatcher and officer response times. The two sites (Detroit and New Orleans) that have response time available by priority level show that response times are faster in emergency incidents. Among call types, the fastest response times for dispatchers and officers were behavioral health incidents , medical emergencies, traffic stops, officer requests for help, area checks, and alarms. Examining CAD events generated through 911 calls for service and those that are officer -initiated reveals that, in Tucson and New Orleans, 911 calls were most prevalent in the CAD system . However, in bo th Camden and Seattle, officer -initiated events accounted for most CAD entries. In Detroit, the proportions of CAD entries varied across the study period , shifting from being mostly 911 responses to mostly officer -initiated events. The findings across all sites suggest the need for future research and local conversations about whether certain types of 911 calls for service require responses by police . There are critical gaps in knowledge regarding the underlying needs, causes, and consequences for these re source -intensive calls for service that do not involve a crime. The current research also produced initial empirical evidence of how data collected by call -takers and dispatchers relates to officer activity on the ground (discussed in Chapter 6). In both Camden and Tucson, incidents labeled as violent were more likely to result in arrest than those labeled nonviolent. However, incidents categorized as nonviolent were more likely to result in arrest when initiated by police than when originating from a 911 c all, revealing a divergence that suggests the need for additional research. To a large extent, mental health and medical incidents were diverted from criminal justice enforcement, potentially indicating that the focus on mental health awareness has the pot ential to pay dividends. Vera™s analysis also revealed the potential for gathering additional data in the 911 call context to advance broader insights, such as how to improve call -taker and dispatcher operations to support improvements in criminal justice outcomes and the integration of additional variables to permit more varied and appropriate responses to 911 calls. The research also sought to test the viability of data science methods known as Natural Language Processing (NLP) in order to understand if data contained within CAD narrative fields (which makes up much of the CAD data) appears frequently enough to merit developing mechanisms to capture and analyze this information in a more structured manner (e.g., to develop new structured CAD codes). Sever al key findings emerged from applying the NLP approach, methods, and techniques to Camden and Tucson™s 911 data (described in Chapter 7). The high -level results include the following:
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9 The narrative fields in the CAD entries are essential to making accurate policing decisions. Subjective b ias can be injected into the narrative fields by call -takers, dispatchers , and officers . Additional research is needed to understand why this detectable difference between the narrative field and the structured data exists; how call -takers, dispatchers, and officers use the narrative field; and how much cognitive load is placed on officers whe n consuming the narrative data as opposed to the structured data. This inquiry would require researchers to review the data manually and identify another method to compare structured and unstructured data fields prior to employing a computational/algorithm ic approach. To further explore the empirical findings that resulted from the research activities, Vera hosted a national convening of law enforcement leaders and system stakeholders (summarized in Chapter 8). At the convening, researchers presented their findings, explored alternatives to enforcement, and collaborated to identify opportunities for reform. This convening was held in partnership with Arnold Ventures and George Mason University™s Center for Evidence -Based Crime Policy (CEBCP). Both research t eams (Vera and CEBCP) presented their findings to explore implications of the research and spark innovations, particularly around alternatives to enforcement. Participants from 40 organizations across the country were in attendance, including representativ es from 10 police departments, five public safety communications agencies, and 10 research organizations. The room was full and engaged. The convening™s energy and insights provided clear evidence that additional conversation and collaboration on the topic is both needed and wanted. This report concludes with a number of key policy recommendations and practitioner innovations (presented in Chapter 9) , ranging from developing new protocols for how and if police departments should respond to unverified burgl ar alarms to providing de -escalation tactics trainings to 911 call -takers and dispatchers. Clear needs have emerged for better call -taking and recording practices, as well as standardized codes and procedures, with the goal of improving procedural justice, customer service, and the safety and wellbeing of officers, community members, call -takers, and dispatchers. Many practical solutions exist, some of which are currently being implemented and tested and others that are on the cutting edge. One effort that is feasible and valuable in the immediate term is developing a national coalition to advance thinking, practice, research, and standardization. This can be achieved through the roundtable model that has successfully mobilized reform in many other areas of the justice
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10 system for the past several decades. 4 Alternatives to police response and collaborative community responses have shown great promise for integration into 911 call processing. Additional investments in this research and practice can help inform taking them to scale in local jurisdictions nationally. Many opportunities exist, and needs abound Šthis research makes clear that the 911 system is both massive and neglected. Though much was accomplished through the course of this current research effort , in most places the 911 call -taking, dispatching, and police response continuum continues to operate as a ‚black box ,™ and there is a pressing need for further investment and research . Myriad opportunities exist to further develop this work, including con tinued and expanded analysis of the data already in hand. Other opportunities to expand the national conversation with roundtables about national standards, best practices, and building coalitions for understanding practice and moving it forward present an immediate first step in continuing to meaningfully advance this work. The goal of this and future work is to enhance public safety, promote meaningful alternatives to 911, and eliminate unnecessary police response and enforcement. 4 For an example of two such roundtable programs, see Columbia Justice Lab, ﬁSquare One,ﬂ https:// justicelab.columbia.edu/squareone ; and The Urban Institute, ﬁReentry Roundtables,ﬂ http://research.urban.org/UploadedPDF/from_prison_to_home.pdf .
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11 Acknowledgments Without the support and participation of the Camden County and Tucson police departments and their respective public safety communications departments, this research would not have been possible. We thank all of the representatives of these departments , including r etired Chief J. Scott Thomson and Chief Chris Magnus , for their cooperation throughout the course of this project and their support of this work ., This work also would not have been possible without the support and partnership of Arnold Ventures. We particularly want to thank Jeremy Travis, Arnold Ventures Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Lynn Overmann, former Vice President of Criminal Justice, and Catie Bialick, Criminal Justice Manager, whose support and guidance were instrumental throughout the duration of this project. In addition to the numerous Vera Institute of Justice staff who helped accomplish this ambitious and important work and are named authors on this report, several key current and former colleagues also helped accomplish crucial activities related to this project, namely Susan Shah, Leah Pope, Jackson Beck, Kristyn Jones, Cataydra Brown, Alexa Masseur, Cindy Reed, Elle T eshima, Gloria Mendoza, Khusbu Bhakta, Dan Redding, Tim Merr ill, and Ram Subramanian. The views expressed in this report are the authors™ and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arnold Ventures. Credits © 2020 Vera Institute of Justice. All rights reserved. Vera Institute of Justice, 34 35th Street, 4 -2A, Brooklyn, New York, 11232, (212) 334 -1300. An electronic version of this report is available for download at www.vera.org/understanding -police -enforcement -911 . Requests for additional information about the research described in this report should be directed to Jim Parsons, vice president, research, monitoring, evaluation & learning at the above address or to email@example.com. Suggested citation S. Rebe cca Neusteter, Megan O™Toole, Mawia Khogali, Abdul Rad, Frankie Wunschel, Sarah Scaffidi, Marilyn Sinkewicz, Maris Mapolski, Paul DeGrandis, Daniel Bodah, and Henessy Pineda . Understanding Police Enforcement: A Multicity 911 Analysis . New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2020.
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