California lawmakers to take up crime reporting bill
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — State lawmakers are expected to take up a new bill next week meant to make it easier for officials to post California crime statistics to the state attorney general’s OpenJustice data portal.
The OpenJustice Data Act of 2016, developed by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and introduced by Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin of Southern California, would require police departments and other law enforcement agencies to submit their crime data electronically instead of in a paper format. It would also require that agencies file updates to their data quarterly instead of annually.
The California State Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday, according to Harris’ office.
Currently, 60 percent of the state’s crime data is filed by hand, making it difficult to add to the OpenJustice data portal, which launched in September.
“Right now we are sitting on mountains of valuable criminal justice data that local law enforcement work hard to provide in the public interest,” Irwin said in a press release.
The portal allows users to explore interactive dashboards on subjects like arrest rates and arrest-related deaths. Users can also download full data sets.
Harris has been looking for ways to improve trust between communities and their police forces, her special assistant Justin Erlich said during an open data event earlier this month. Opening up information, like through OpenJustice portal and with the help of the new bill, helps build that trust, he said.
“The attorney general is always wondering, how do we use these assets of gathered data in justice,” Erlich said at the time.