New Denver sheriff's department dashboards show disciplinary probes, response times
Within the dashboard, users will find details such as basic complainant and suspect info, complaint types and the resolutions of cases
By Sarah Roebuck
DENVER — Two online, interactive resources are enabling the public to delve deeper into allegations made against Denver's sheriff deputies and the city's emergency dispatch calls, according to Westword.
The Denver Department of Public Safety launched two new public dashboards on August 7. One dashboard provides a comprehensive picture of what types of calls first responders from police, fire and EMS are handling, while the other focuses on disciplinary investigations conducted by the sheriff's department.
“Since I became executive director, which is now 16 or 17 or so months ago, one of the things that I wanted to work on was having more transparency and accessibility to the Department of Safety,” Armando Saldate told Westword.
Two analysts have been chosen to construct the upcoming dashboards. One analyst will gather data concerning sheriff's department investigations, while the other will present information about call volume, incident types and the rough locations of first responders from a seven-day period, all sourced from the city's computer-aided dispatch system. The system refreshes once a day around midnight so it does not show the rough location of first responders in real-time. This will offer insights into two facets of the city overseen by the DOS.
Bringing together data from numerous agencies utilizing the CAD system was not an easy task, as noted by Saldate. But the dashboards underwent thorough testing and authorities are content with the outcomes.
DOS analysts face an additional hurdle due to the age of the city's CAD system. However, Saldate has intentions to replace it in the coming year. This is just one of the numerous enhancements he aims to implement within the department.
Saldate acknowledges that occasional errors can occur within the city's operations. However, his objective with the new dashboards is to demonstrate the city's dedication to rectifying these errors. To illustrate, he explains that if individuals encounter situations where they called 911 and experience hold times or delays in response, they can access the dashboard to gain insights into concurrent events that might have contributed to those problems.
Although the city has been short on dispatchers, Saldate claims it will be up to full employment within the next few months.
“I wanted to make sure that we could start showing the public, 'See, when we were down 75% with dispatchers, our call response time was this,'" Saldate told Westword. "'But once we did get up to staffing levels ... we did much better and we're now at this time.' It's also a way of showing folks how we are resourcing and responding to things.”
The CAD system only shows annual incident data or specifics from the past seven days, but Saldate said public safety is looking to add more time-frame options.
The dashboard for the Public Integrity Division provides information about the Denver Sheriff's Department. This civilian unit is responsible for conducting disciplinary investigations within the DSD. Within this dashboard, users will find details such as basic complainant and suspect information, complaint types and the resolutions of cases.
“After the pandemic and then after the murder of George Floyd and all the protests that we experienced here, there were demands for accountability in policing and public safety,” Saldate told Westword. “Part of that accountability and holding ourselves accountable is transparency.”
Through displaying case volumes and outcomes, even without delving into specifics, the dashboard strives to provide individuals with an understanding of the internal workings when allegations arise regarding misconduct within the sheriff's department.