Leveraging AI capabilities to build community trust with law enforcement agencies

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Over the past several days at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in San Diego, our partners at Polis Solutions officially released their new TrustStat™ analytic platform. TrustStat enables automated, scalable analysis of data from police body-worn cameras and similar devices. This platform is the first body-worn camera analytics platform that combines AI capabilities with social scientific models of human interaction and domain expertise in evidence-based police reform.

The usage of body-worn cameras is rapidly expanding, but the ability to analyze the data they record is severely limited by a lack of technical resources and time. Body-worn camera footage can be invaluable in strengthening accountability, trust, and transparency in police work. To do this, however, a vast amount of data must be managed, transcribed, and reviewed at scale. And the data-analysis problem is only poised to increase. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill estimate that if body-worn cameras became universal among the 900,000 police officers serving in thousands of departments across the United States, together those cameras would produce about 29 million files every month and roughly 1,140 years of footage. In a department of 200 officers with cameras, this could equate to 33 terabytes of data every year.

Currently, law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies have almost no efficient, scalable ability to catalogue, analyze, and use body-worn camera data. This means analysis is often limited to single instances of reactive response instead of scalable evaluation fitted to the goals of improving policing practices and strengthening police-community relationships. But there is hope. These are the types of large-scale data analysis challenges that the TrustStat system was designed to handle. By leveraging AI tools and services, TrustStat can transform a department’s capability to structure and use their body-worn camera data to save time and money and improve performance and public accountability. With better access and understanding of the available data, there is an opportunity to advance data-driven transparency and accountability that empowers both community members and public officials.

“Our body-worn camera videos contain a huge volume of valuable data.” said Exec. Asst. Chief Albert Martinez of the Dallas Police Department, “Through its AI enabled analytics, TrustStat will help our department understand and use this data to continue strengthening public trust and safety in the City of Dallas.”

TrustStat and Responsible AI

At Microsoft, we believe that increased access to data, insights, and analytics tools can foster more informed community conversations, improve transparency, and help agencies measure progress. And building a sustainable data ecology that continuously measures and improves public trust could be the key to lasting reform. Body-worn camera data represents the largest unanalyzed and unused repository of real-world information about police-community interactions in the United States, and it has the unmatched potential to transform the quality and equity of public safety services.

The TrustStat system utilizes AI to identify key patterns in police-community interactions. Unlike more limited technology that can only analyze transcripts of officers’ speech, the multimodal AI technology TrustStat uses, enables them to look at the entire interaction and analyze vast amounts of data with great speed and efficiency, accomplishing in minutes what would take a human several hours, if not days, to accomplish.

We chose to partner with Polis on developing TrustStat because their approach to developing AI technology closely aligns with our principles for creating AI responsibly and our commitment to advancing equity and fairness in the criminal legal system. Polis works from the premise that trust is the cornerstone of policing and of the work we do to advance justice system reform. This includes considering fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. Polis helps communities build stronger public trust and safety by integrating data analytics and social science into their solutions.

At the Microsoft Public Safety and AI Summit, I had a chance to sit down with Jonathan Wender, President and CEO of Polis Solutions, for the first public demonstration of the TrustStat system. “Polis developed TrustStat as a tool to help humanize policing,” shared Wender. “Body-worn cameras (BWCs) capture an incredibly vast and detailed picture of police-community interactions. There is no richer source of data, and we think communities and police agencies share a responsibility to use this data in ethically and scientifically sound ways. TrustStat helps provide context for these patterns, and in doing so creates opportunities for police and communities to rethink how they can collaborate to build trust and safety.”

In addition to the capabilities enabled by AI, the TrustStat system is built on the Azure Government platform, which ensures Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) compliance.

Looking ahead

As we look forward, we’re excited to partner with Polis to help other jurisdictions bring the TrustStat system online. In St. Petersburg, Florida, “The department looks forward to working with Polis to pilot TrustStat analytics.” said Chief Anthony Holloway. “We know our officers do great work daily while on patrol, and TrustStat analytics will allow us to capture this information to learn, teach, and reward our officers for their performance and to continue to build trust and accountability with our community.”

As we move this work forward, we will continue to seek out similar opportunities to support the responsible and equitable deployment of AI-based solutions that address racial injustice and inequity, empower communities, and advance fair and inclusive societies.

Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative

As part of our commitment to advancing fair and equitable societal systems that protect fundamental rights and address racial injustice and inequity, the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative works to provide access to data and technology to organizations working to support alternatives to incarceration, accelerate new models of public safety, and expand access to data-driven insights. We are collaborating with organizations like Polis to provide access to relevant tools and solutions that help prevent unnecessary justice system involvement and eliminate racial disparities in policing and prosecution practices in local communities.


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