Launching Accountable Now to Advocate for Police Reform with Data
Incidents of police violence in the past decade have fueled the national conversation about racial disparities in policing. They have also highlighted an urgent need for transparency in how police departments use force and have led to a call for police reform. At the center of this conversation about police reform is The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (also known as CivilRights.org), a Velir client and nonprofit founded in 1950 that engages in legislative advocacy across several initiatives, including policing.
Accountable Now allows visitors to search police use of force data by location or by police department.
To help advocate for change in police use of force, the Leadership Conference partnered with us to launch a campaign that makes police data across the country accessible to everyone. Accountable Nowis the first public centralized home for police use of force data. Designed for a broad audience from journalists to legislators and community activists, the site makes it easy to explore and collect data, and to get educated on how to use this data for advocacy.
How the Accountable Now Campaign Started
In 2020, Velir embarked on an important journey with the Leadership Conference to fight for equality and to spotlight racial disparities in police use of force data. The Leadership Conference wanted to create a digital platform that showed the public meaningful data stories about use of force, but they weren’t sure the best way to collect and harness that data.
In our early discussions with The Leadership Conference, we realized that a major challenge was not having enough police use of force data to analyze, because the federal government didn't provide it. It became clear that we needed to create a website that offered this data in an easily accessible data hub the public could use to drive change. This mission of fighting for equality by making data available to all people became the foundation for the Accountable Now campaign, which encourages organizations, private citizens, and local governments to help collect this data and leverage it to advocate for change.
As we began building the database and campaign, we soon realized that we needed another partner to blend and analyze the disparate datasets being collected across the country. To help overcome this challenge, we introduced The Leadership Conference to NORC at the University of Chicago.
Accountable Now lets users filter by the types of police use of force incidents, by the race of the people involved, by city, and by year.
Our combined partnership worked together over the past year to create a site that, through data exploration, will help journalists uncover narratives to write stories, give legislators information for advocacy, and encourage citizens to contribute to the data collection campaign through Freedom of Information Act requests. Accountable Now aims to collect data from 1,000 police departments by the end of 2021. Our work will continue together to evolve the site with more analysis, visual storytelling, and education.
Our Client and Collaborators
To learn more about The Leadership Conference Education Fund and its mission to build public will for laws and policies that promote and protect civil and human rights, visit their website.
NORC at the University of Chicago is partnering on this project to process, standardize, and analyze the existing data so that audiences can compare data between different cities. Read more about NORC at their website.
Velir has over 18 years of experience working with mission-driven nonprofits like the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. See more of our workor get in touch to learn how we can partner with you on your next campaign or digital project.