Law enforcement agencies use various ways to measure the performance of their employees and their department as a whole. Traditional measures include statistics about crime incidents, number of arrests, cases cleared, citizen complaints, and supervisor evaluations. But there has been no standardized and widely accepted definitions or benchmarks for good policing. Nor are there widely accepted ways for one agency to compare itself against another.
In 2008, the National Institute of Justice funded a study to demonstrate the feasibility of creating a platform or foundation from which law enforcement agencies could launch studies about multiple aspects of policing using standardized definitions and measurement tools.
The results of this six-year study, which consisted of two phases running from 2009-2015, were positive. NIJ provided funding to the Police Foundation to transition the platform from a research project to an operational tool primarily for practitioner use.
The updated platform provides law enforcement agencies with feedback from officers, supervisors, and the community as well as benchmarking tools to compare the agency with similar agencies – all while protecting the anonymity of the agency. They also can quickly discover the efficacy of new technology or programs as they are used concurrently across multiple law enforcement agencies.
Now called the National Law Enforcement Applied Research & Data Platform, the Police Foundation has taken the helm of the initiative from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The Police Foundation is aiming to increase the number of participating law enforcement agencies, expand the topics examined, and provide even more resources to law enforcement agencies.
For more information, visit https://www.nationallawenforcementplatform.org.