Digital Tools for Police Accountability

For my project the research process is heavily focused on data analysis. In particular, I have used much of the data collected by the ACLU of California about the use of their Mobile Justice app. As the focus of my project, it is crucial for me to understand the ways in which the app is used, who uses the app, and what outcomes have been produced by the app. Additionally, I have conducted a great deal of research about different methods for holding police accountable for their actions. This research is very important because in order to judge the effectiveness of the Mobile Justice app as a tool for police accountability I need to define what it means to hold the police accountable. Lastly, I have conducted research about the effectiveness of past methods for police accountability, paying particular attention to body, dash cams, and other surveillance tools.

The methods I have used in this project are largely quantitative. I want to use the ACLU of California’s Mobile Justice App as a test case to draw conclusions about what makes a digital tool, such as this app, an effective form of police accountability and what does not. In order to make these conclusions I have used the large store of data already collected about police accountability in the form of statistics, and scholarly articles as a way to analyze effective tactics for police accountability. I have also consulted various opinion pieces due to the fact that police accountability has very real consequences, particularly for communities of color, and I believe that it is extremely necessary to take into account those first hand experiences (as well as the data) when judging the effectiveness of police accountability tools. Implications One of the major implications of this project is that I want to use this research to help me to create a more effective digital tool for police accountability. As a computer science major who is extremely passionate about this issue I see the endless possibilities that computer science offers and I really want to utilize it for good. I have been working with one of the developers of the ACLU of California and have discussed the possibility of making the Mobile Justice App nationally available and I am hoping that this research can help make the national app more effective.

Student Creator:

Xiomara Rodriguez: I am a Computer Science major interested in the capacity of technologies to enact radical social and political change.