City of Beaufort Police making data more easily available

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Department has added reports on website

From staff reports

The City of Beaufort Police Department has added several monthly reports to its website to ensure more transparency and accountability with the public.

“During the last few months, as the spotlight has shown on law enforcement practices throughout the country, we wanted to make sure our website better reflected our practices and our data,” Interim Police Chief Dale McDorman said in a release. “In fact, we have always collected data, and made it available to members of the public when they requested it, but we wanted to make it easier for the public to access this information. We think we’ve made a good start here.”

The department’s changes are broken down into four categories – data, services, hiring and feedback.

DATA

The website now includes these monthly reports:

Demographics of citations: Citations are issued for misdemeanor offenses. This report shows the breakdown by age, gender and race.

Activity reports: Activity reports are the sum total of activity by officers in any given month. This also includes officer-initiated property checks.

Reports taken: This represents incidents that require further investigation or are reportable to the FBI.

Other reports include an annual use of force analysis and an annual pursuit analysis. The website also has a serious crime index showing numbers (and trends) from 2017-2019. (This report shows incidents of serious crime in Beaufort have declined over each of these three years, from a total of 759 in 2017 to 526 in 2019.)

The website also now lists the daily incident report that is emailed to the media.

SERVICES

The department has also added a services section that includes:

Extra patrol request for residents or businesses: This allows someone to ask for a patrol check during a vacation, for example.

Bicycle registration: This allows someone to register their bike’s serial number and also upload a picture of the bike. If the bike is stolen, and later found, this would make it easier to return the bike to its owner.

HIRING

The department has added a section detailing the hiring and training process for a Beaufort police officer.

FEEDBACK

The department has added a survey that asks for feedback on such issues as safety, encounters with officers, etc.

“When City Council met earlier this summer with people from the community who wanted to see more transparency from our Police Department in the way of data and information, we promised that this would happen,” Mayor Billy Keyserling said in a release. “Our department has followed through on this, and is a leader in the region when it comes to transparency.”

For more information, contact Capt. George Erdel at gerdel@cityofbeaufort.org or 843-322-7958.