Ill. police to send 'how was our service' text messages after 911 calls

Community members receive a link to a survey that asks questions like “Did the officer treat you with respect?” and “Did you receive the services you needed?”

By Megan Jones
Chicago Tribune

AURORA, Ill. — After calling 911 and receiving any response needed, community members in Aurora will also receive a different type of outreach — through a text message.

A new program launched by the Aurora Police Department will send a bilingual message to people asking their views of the police department and how their interaction with officers went.

Through a partnership with Axon, the company that also provides the department’s body and squad car cameras, the city has already been piloting the survey. Community members receive a link to an anonymous, optional survey that asks questions like “Did the officer treat you with respect?” and “Did you receive the services you needed?”

The program runs through Axon’s My90, a confidential community engagement and research tool specifically created to “build bridges between the community and the police with data-driven technology,” according to Axon’s website.

Aurora City Council members OK’d the program last week, approving a five-year deal with Axon at $28,800 a year.

“It gives them an opportunity to anonymously give feedback on the type of service they received and we are also able to voluntarily obtain demographic information to see how the members of our community view us,” Aurora Police Administrative Services Lt. Bill Rowley told City Council Finance Committee members recently.

There is also a form to fill out where people can type in suggestions about things officers could do better to serve the community. Curated comments will be given to the department’s command staff to review and see the areas where police can improve services, Rowley said.

The survey is also used for interactions with dispatchers and internally by the professional and sworn staff to ask how the department can improve morale and performance.

“It also allows the opportunity to ask people if they are aware of special services we provide, like that we have a co-response model between police officers and social workers,” Rowley said. “And if they are not aware, it will direct them to a link of how the model works.”

Aurora is the first city in the area to use the survey, Rowley said. Other police agencies that have used it include Fairfax County, Virginia, and Pittsburgh.

During the pilot program, Rowley said the department saw a 93% satisfaction rate for how dispatchers treated residents and a 95% satisfaction rate for how officers treated community members.

RELATED: Seattle releases annual public safety survey to gain the public's thoughts on policing in the city

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