My90 is a mission-driven SaaS company that makes the criminal justice system more accountable and equitable by collecting feedback on interactions with the police and translating public sentiment into actionable intelligence.
Recent events have exposed the degree of mistrust between police and the communities they serve, making community engagement a top priority for law enforcement leaders. However, police departments have historically had no way to collect data from communities, making it difficult to incorporate community feedback into decision-making.
My challenge was to design a platform that would automate data collection, analysis, and visualization for police departments in real time. Before, My90 would manually compile and analyze data in PDF reports after collecting feedback from community members via SMS.
Additionally, My90 needed help increasing response rates from community members.
Police department staff, including Police Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, and Communications Personnel
January 2018 - present
My user research process included interviews with police chiefs, focus groups with community members, and a ride-along where I observed the day-to-day workflow of a police officer. I developed the following personas for our three user bases:
A major pain point from a Police Chief's perspective is that departments lack ways to systematically include the community as a stakeholder in policy and decision-making. Data simply isn't collected, and even when it is, police departments aren't sure how to use it effectively. Additionally, departments face difficulty building trust with people who typically don't trust the police, such as African-Americans and other people of color. Existing community engagement efforts were like "preaching to the choir," in the words of one Police Chief.
Community members often have strong opinions about their interactions with police officers, or on ways the police can help their community, but lack opportunities to provide feedback. Existing methods include visiting a police department in person or completing a paper form. In a world where people are accustomed to writing reviews with their smartphones and receiving responses from Customer Service within 24 hours, it's not hard to understand why police departments have trouble collecting feedback. According to a Police Chief, customer service is a "foreign concept." Furthermore, people who typically don't trust the police don't want to provide feedback out of fear of retribution and a lack of belief that things will change.
According to the officer I shadowed during a ride-along, police officers have to constantly battle negative perceptions of them. They aren't trained from a customer service perspective and usually aren't encouraged to build relationships with community members. The officer also claimed that he is "old school" and has trouble adapting to new technology.
In order to translate user insights into product features, I created an empathy map and decided on product features that would solve our users' problems.
The core features of the product would include:
1. An accessible, convenient, and satisfying way to provide feedback
- After someone interacts with law enforcement, My90 sends them an automated text message, making it easy for them to respond
- The conversation would be built using Artificial Intelligence to make it as humanlike and personal as possible
2. An actionable data visualization platform that enables police departments to:
- Make decisions on polices, practices, and funding based on issues and concerns most commonly voiced by community members (i.e. are residents okay with drone use, do neighborhoods want more or less patrol, etc.)
- Address concerns in particular neighborhoods with command staff in charge of those areas
- Target engagement efforts towards demographic segments with low levels of trust towards the police
- Respond to concerns from the community through anonymous text messaging
3. A public data dashboard, which makes it possible for community members to:
- Monitor the police and see whether what they've experienced has happened to others
- Use the data for advocacy or research purposes
Next, I dived into designing the police-facing data visualization dashboard by brainstorming different ways the data could be organized.