Police Data Initiative

Project Purpose/Goal

The Police Data Initiative (PDI) is a community of practice designed to support law enforcement agencies that are seeking to better inform and engage the public through the release and use of open data. By joining the Police Data Initiative, law enforcement executives can connect with over 140 agencies of all sizes across the United States that are currently maintaining or working to release open datasets online.


Approach, Results and Implications

Over 140 agencies are participating in the PDI. Together with the National Police Foundation and our partners, PDI agencies engage in regular conference calls and webinars to share successes and challenges, encourage open data releases and to discuss the ultimate goal of engaging the community to improve transparency and trust while working together to solve the community’s most pressing public safety concerns and challenges.

The PDI website provides an interactive listing of all participating agencies and the more than 375 datasets they have made available, highlighting the great work of participating agencies using open data for civic engagement. Users of the PDI website www.policedatainiative.org are able to access all datasets and other necessary information about the PDI as well as resources for promoting, using and sharing police open data. As more agencies join the initiative, new and additional data sets will be added, including data from public safety and other realms, allowing the data to be combined and analyzed in ways that may not have been previously possible.

The National Police Foundation and its partners support the PDI community of practice by facilitating peer-to-peer engagements, providing webinars on key challenges and opportunities, holding regular update calls with agencies in each region of the country, and assisting agencies with common policy and technical challenges such as choosing data sets to open, data set formatting and metadata, automated data collection, extraction and loading, and how to engage the community with the data. The National Police Foundation also provides guidance and assistance to agencies in providing important safeguards such as privacy protections and in providing context for the data to improve understanding and use. The PDI provides the public, law enforcement agencies, researchers, technologists, and other users with access to priority open data sets from state and local law enforcement agencies, such as real-time, near-real-time, and historical calls for service data, arrests and citations data, use of force data, crime/incident report data, officer-involved shooting data, assaults on officers data, hate and bias incident data, bicycle and pedestrian collision data, agency training and workforce data, and more.

For an official summary of the PDI, see our blog [ https://www.policedatainitiative.org/an-overview-of-the-police-data-initiative-pdi/ ]. To view the PDI website, click here.


Funding & Collaboration

The National Police Foundation began supporting the use of open data in policing in early 2015 and launched the Open Data Portal in the spring of 2015, using private funding, for the purpose of using the Portal to support the White House Police Data Initiative as a key national partner. In December of 2016, the National Police Foundation was awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to continue supporting and facilitating the Police Data Initiative through 2019.

The National Police Foundation has partnered with many organizations to support the PDI. Our primary partners include the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and SEARCH.


Point of Contact:

Jim Burch
Executive Vice President
National Police Foundation

Garrett Johnson
Project Coordinator
National Police Foundation



Open Data Portal, Police Data Initiative, PDI, use of force, officer involved shootings, calls for service, data sets