MPD Wants Your Input

The Metropolitan Police Department is interested in what you have to say about their performance. Check out their 2007 Survey, which is completable as a PDF or as an HTML form done via Survey Monkey. Their Purpose statement reads: “The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of the District of Columbia, under the new leadership of Acting Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, is committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime by establishing “customized community policing” strategies to address individual neighborhood problems. As part of this, the Department is conducting a citywide survey to identify ways to improve services to all community members.”

Personally, I’d hope the police department’s goal would actually be to eliminate crime, but I can understand that they’d rather work in real terms, and that since people are often animals, there’s always going to be some crime. You’ve got a week to fill out the survey, which affects ONLY the MPD, not the Capitol Police, the Park Police, or any other Special Police force.

It’s your basic “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” survey in section 1, with such attributes as:

  • Overall, I am satisfied with police services.
  • Police officers are visible in my neighborhood.
  • The police are respectful and courteous.
  • The police keep their vehicles clean.

Section 2 is more yes/no/don’t know, with questions about citizen perception and participation in police activities, including community involvement, and includes such questions as: I am aware that MPD sponsors community online Listservs. Except, that I can’t find such a listserv on the MPD webpage. It strikes me that they might want to consider some information architecture techniques for use on their general god-awful website.

Section 3 is all about crime priorities, allowing the surveyor to assign a priority of “Big Problem”, “Some Problem” or “No Problem” to any crime they list (though they list Robberies on the streets twice. And while I think that’s pretty cool, there’s no reason for a citizen to think that any of the categories they list as NOT a Big Problem. All the crimes they list are fairly serious, from burglaries to shootings and drug dealing. We have a categorization in law for this and they’re called felony offenses, which all of these are. Chosing degrees of felony isn’t up to the citizens, nor should we be forced to make the prioritization between someone getting shot and someone getting stabbed or someone getting held up at an ATM.

There’s one last thing I’d like to note, SurveyMonkey has no way of dealing with multiple surveys from single IP addresses and no way of verifying address data against known IP locations, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a lot of junk data input here, making the results of the survey done via web or fax into something that can’t be verified. Still, voice your opinions if you’d like. Just be prepared for them to be outshouted by Chinese Gold Farmers.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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