At a time when the Chicago Police Department and law enforcement across the U.S. have struggled to win the trust of Black Americans, the city announced a new online tool to gauge the public’s feelings about officers, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Police Sentiment Dashboard went live Thursday. It gives Chicagoans the option of filling out surveys that rate each of its 22 patrol districts on how residents view police in those areas. Current data on each district shows two average scores — one based on the level of trust and the other on level of safety — from surveys over three years of more than 63,000 Chicagoans.
Residents with the lowest levels of trust in Chicago police officers and safety in their neighborhoods are from districts with high Black populations. The data confirm a long-standing criticism of the department as it goes through a federally mandated consent decree to improve the way its officers are trained, how they’re supervised and how they treat citizens. The surveys were conducted by Elucd, a data research company, beginning in 2017. Elucd calculates the trust scores for each district by asking participants on a scale of 0 to 10 how much they agree that police in their neighborhoods treat residents with respect, and how much they agree that police take concerns of those residents seriously. Residents were asked on a scale of zero to 10 how safe they feel in their neighborhoods. The release of Thursday’s data comes after a survey from the federal consent decree monitor this year showed that while nearly 80 percent of white residents said police make them feel safer, less than half of Black residents felt the same. The survey showed a shared lack of confidence in the department, with only about half of all respondents saying police officers are trustworthy.