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Designing Effective Law Enforcement Data Dashboards: COPS Office Publishes Key Guides Developed by SEARCH and PERF

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Data dashboards can help law enforcement agencies manage, analyze, and display actionable information in a user-friendly interface.

To familiarize law enforcement with this technical resource, the COPS Office published a three-part Designing an Effective Law Enforcement Data Dashboard series today. The publications were produced by SEARCH and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

Each publication in this series is based on research and consultation with law enforcement leaders and subject matter experts and contains examples of real-world operational dashboards and tips for planning, designing, implementing, and sustaining data dashboards in a law enforcement agency.

The goal of the three guides is to cover the lifecycle of the data dashboard development process from inception — providing the justification and benefits of developing a dashboard – through design and requirements. Using these documents as guides, any agency should be able to develop their own data dashboards or prepare an effective Request for Proposal (RFP) to acquire a dashboard product from a vendor or service provider.

“Data dashboards help law enforcement agencies communicate valuable information, support data-driven decision-making, and provide information to the public. The effective use of data is more important than ever for promoting transparency and accountability, and data dashboards are often the best way to do this. They provide timely information ‘at a glance’ about important topics of interest to the many different audiences interested in law enforcement and public safety activities, both internal and external.”

—David J. RobertsSEARCH Executive Director

The series is free and available online. The three publications are:

Designing an Effective Law Enforcement Data Dashboard: Getting it Right and Why It Matters: An Introduction
This publication provides an introduction to data dashboards for law enforcement and public safety executives, and other integral stakeholders, describing the purposes of a data dashboard and the process for developing one.

Authors: Michael Jacobson and Mark Perbix, SEARCH, and Dave McClure, PERF

Product ID: COPS-W1011. PDF (21384k) – 40 pages

Designing an Effective Law Enforcement Data Dashboard: Developing a Concept of Operations Document
This publication is intended for agency project managers, IT staff, and other stakeholders. It provides a roadmap for developing a concept of operations (ConOps) document for a law enforcement dashboard. The purpose of a ConOps is to ensure that all stakeholders share a common vision and understanding of a dashboard’s capabilities; this publication includes checklists, templates, and a complete example dashboard that readers can modify.

Authors: Michael Jacobson, Mark Perbix, and Karen Lissy, SEARCH

Product ID: COPS-W1012. PDF (22987k) – 68 pages

Designing an Effective Law Enforcement Data Dashboard: Functional and Technical Requirements
This publication provides agency project managers and IT staff seeking to implement a law enforcement data dashboard with a roadmap for developing the dashboard system’s technical and functional requirements, including checklists and templates.

Authors: Michael Jacobson, Diane Lacy, and Mark Perbix, SEARCH, and Dave McClure, PERF

Product ID: COPS-W1013. PDF (21737k) – 64 pages

The Data Dashboard guides were authored by Michael Jacobson, Information Sharing Specialist, SEARCH, Mark Perbix, Director of Information Sharing (ret.), SEARCH, Karen Lissy, Justice Information Services Specialist, SEARCH, Diane Lacy, Information Sharing Specialist, SEARCH, and Dave McClure, Senior Research Associate, PERF.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

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