A small town in Virginia is giving citizens the ability to submit report cards on police officers they interact with.
The program, called Guardian Score, is rolling out in Warrenton – a small Virginia town just outside of Washington DC city limits. Guardian Score will allow citizens to submit an anonymous rating of police immediately after an incident. Warrenton hopes that the feedback system will encourage police officers to be more communicative and open with the public. The anonymous reviews will be visible to officers, their peers, supervisors, and the general public.
“This program provides a great way for us to thoroughly measure our officers’ effectiveness and impact on the community,” said Warrenton Police Chief Mike Kochis. “The community responses are captured on a dashboard that every officer, supervisor and commander can access.”
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Warrenton police are onboard with the idea, with leaders saying transparency will encourage officers to act more kindly and be more polite.
“During the initial 90-day pilot of the program, the police department recorded mostly positive responses and positive interactions,” Kochis said. “In reviewing the body cam footage, it’s clear that while our officers routinely treat the public with professionalism and compassion, knowing their interaction would be evaluated has definitely made them focus on explaining ‘why,’ listening and explaining next steps.”
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Guardian score is funded by the PATH Foundation – a self-described “philanthropic charitable foundation that supports Fauquier, Rappahannock and Culpeper counties.”
The program will involve physical report cards to be distributed by officers. On the back of the card is a QR code that can be scanned to access the digital survey. Each card is unique and can only be used once.