In May of 2015, shortly after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer, former President Barack Obama traveled to Camden, New Jersey to announce a new program that was supposed to help repair the broken relationship between police and communities of color. This Police Data Initiative was to take poorly kept data and make it better, more uniform, and more accessible to the general public. The notion was that better data on policing would ultimately improve transparency and accountability between police and citizens. But today, if you visit the website for the police data initiative, what you’ll find is, “sadly, it's on life support,” it’s director says. “And I would say we're probably planning the funeral service for it.”
It’s not alone.
Across the country, government initiatives aiming to collect better data for the criminal justice system have failed or are struggling.
Host: Sara Ganim. Reporters: Trey Ecker, Hannah Himmelgreen, Dana Cassidy. Guests: Jim Burch, Scott Carver, Gipsy Escobar, Eddie Brown.
Editors: Amy Fu, James Sullivan. Original score: Pete Readman. Research: Brittany Suzsan. Produced by The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at The University of Florida.