FOIA: DC Office of Unified Communications

UnifiedThis request submitted to the Office of Unified Communications is part of our first set of requests in the District of Columbia (DC). This request is targeting meta data on calls to 911 within DC seeking police services.

As is CJP’s policy we are targeting data for as far back as the Office of Unified Communications maintains data and will use litigation if necessary to make sure this data is regularly updated.

While this data is often ignored by the stakeholders, policymakers, and the media it is in fact very powerful. This data is routinely used as the basis for staffing analyses conducted throughout the policing community in America. This is exactly what we will be using this data. There is no reason these analyses have to be done secretly within police departments. This is a perfect example of when science can make a meaningful contribution to a vital public issue.

DC has a completely unique justice system to engage because it is bifurcated. While DC does maintain their own police department, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and their own 911 system, the Office of Unified Communications, the remaining pieces of the justice system are mostly on the federal level.

According to sources within DC government about 60% of the arrests that occur within DC are actually made by the MPD. The rest of the arrests are spread out between the US Park Police, US Capital Police, and the Metro Transit Police. The Metro Transit Police are actually funded by DC, Virginia, Maryland, and the federal government. We will be engaging each of those agencies to open their data as well in the near future.

FOIA Content

In accordance with the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, D.C. Code §2-531 et seq., please provide the following records:

FOIA A

  1. All digital data related to calls for police service and responses to calls for police service created or maintained by the Office of Unified Communications, from the earliest date records are maintained through at least September 15, 2020. The data should at a minimum include:
  2. Date and time of call
    1. Time call was answered
    2. Date and time event was created
    3. Date and time first unit acknowledged receipt of their dispatch/assignment.
  3. Date and time last unit cleared event
  4. Date and time event was closed
  5. Date and time of the first unit to proceed en route to their dispatch/assignment.
  6. Demographics of caller
  7. Whether the caller wishes to remain anonymous
  8. Location of call, reduced to hundred block
  9. Location of ward
  10. Longitude and latitude of location of call
  11. Zip code of location of call
  12. Response times for each unit that responded to call
  13. Initial call event type(s)
  14. Every event status (or status change) for each call
  15. Final call event type(s)
  16. Final disposition assigned to the event
  17. Final response level
  18. Initial disposition
  19. Initial priority
  20. Initial response level
  21. On scene data and time of first unit to arrive
  22. Nature of call
  23. Corresponding police report numbers
  24. Whether the call was flagged as a duplicate

FOIA B

  1. Any electronic data dictionary for the non-privileged data in records maintained by the Office of Unified Communications related to calls for police services and responses.
  2. Records sufficient to define the codes and description of codes used by the Office of Unified Communications to categorize the nature and event type of calls received.
  3. Records sufficient to reveal the name(s) and producer(s) of any software used by the Office of Unified Communications to maintain data related to calls for police services and responses, including updates and maintenance of same.

FEE WAIVER

The purpose of the FOIA requests listed above is to increase the transparency of the Office of Police Complaints activities for the benefit the general public by making the raw data available in addition to the reports currently made available. Due to the public benefit arising from these FOIA requests, I respectfully request a fee waiver or fee reduction for the costs associated with searching, reviewing, or copying the requested documents.

I look forward to hearing from you in writing within fifteen working days, as required by D.C. Code §2-532(c)(1).  Please direct all questions or responses to this FOIA request to this email address by responding to this email. I can be reached at tsiska@Metropolitanjustice.org

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Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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