Virginia town adopts program where citizens can rate individual police encounters
WARRENTON, V.a. (FOX 5 DC) - A Virginia town recently received funding for a program where citizens are asked to provide an immediate and anonymous rating for every single police encounter.
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The Town of Warrenton Police Department received a grant from PATH Foundation to fund the program called Guardian Score. PATH Foundation says the program uses real-time data analytics and insights to understand how police officers treat community members.
Guardian Score involves a card that police officers hand out at any community interactions. The back of the card contains a QR code directing members of the community to a digital survey. Each card is tied to a unique interaction and can only be used one time.
Officer Johnna Sylvester hands out a card
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Each card is also linked to the specific police officer handing out the card. The digital survey is anonymous and allows community members to rate their police interaction based on the officer’s ability to explain "why", listening skills, fairness, professionalism and to explain next steps, according to PATH Foundation.
"This program provides a great way for us to thoroughly measure our officers’ effectiveness and impact on the community," said Chief Mike Kochis with Town of Warrenton Police Department. "The community responses are captured on a dashboard that every officer, supervisor and commander can access. During the initial 90-day pilot of the program, the police department recorded mostly positive responses and positive interactions. In reviewing the body cam footage, it’s clear that while our officers routinely treat the public with professionalism and compassion, knowing their interaction would be evaluated has definitely made them focus on explaining ‘why,’ listening and explaining next steps."
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"We are delighted to help fund this worthwhile program," said Christy Connolly, PATH Foundation president and CEO. "Not only is this helpful to the police department, but also to the residents in the Warrenton community. I believe this program has real potential to further positive police and resident relationships."