The criminal justice system is decentralized; our approach embraces this, working locally first to make an immediate impact on transparency and access to data.
Our data is crowdsourced in collaboration with the community of people who need police data for their work.
We're mapping Data Sources: which records are available? How are they accessed? How were they generated? How usable are they?
This work documents the current state of transparency in each jurisdiction, and lays the foundation for future work using this data.
We'll focus on helping people take ownership of their local Data Sources using our tools. People doing different kinds of work with the same data can share code, information, and computing power.
To get here, we'll need to build capacity with dedicated staff for community management and technical support.
PDAP becomes a trusted hub for directly accessing police data.
To get here, we'll need to be able to store large amounts of data responsibly. We'll need robust hosting infrastructure and operations support. In the meantime, we're learning about our users and how we can make the biggest impact.
The PDAP non-profit builds a collection of open-source apps and services to help the community write scrapers and archive data.
PDAP is the steward for archives and metadata.
The PDAP community writes and maintains a vast library of Scrapers to cover every U.S. police agency.
The people using police data have the agency to collect and share it with a community of fellow data nerds.
The PDAP non-profit has a traditional structure.
The PDAP community is decentralized, with flat hierarchy and community governance.
Micro-communities of volunteers spring up around geographic regions or types of data, working together on their corner of the criminal justice world.
The PDAP non-profit is funded by grants and individual contributions.
We are grateful for generous support from The Heinz Endowments.
The PDAP community is supported as a key program of the non-profit.
It uses the distributed computing power of its members to balance the workload and connect people with information using minimal resources.
Anything published by or about a criminal justice agency: courts, jails, and law enforcement (police). You can read more about what a Data Source is in our docs.
The simple answer: everybody! Public records should be public.
Some real examples based on our hundreds of hours of research:
We aren't a watchdog—our activism is data collection and accessibility, not analysis or reform. We aren't targeting "bad apples", we're documenting the police systems themselves.
Yes. We're consolidating public information, in accordance with established legal precedents.
No. Our only motivation is to provide better access to public records in an age of disinformation. Our members have diverse perspectives and goals for police institutions, but we are united by the common goal of transparency.
Every step in our process is accessible and transparent.