Police Customer Services Transformed

Building Trust and Confidence in Police through Greater Transparency

The Objective  |  Enhance Customer Services

The Sebastopol Police Department underwent an extensive top to bottom audit commissioned by their mayor and City Council. Open Policing was given an opportunity to share our work with their interim chief of police. When Chief Kevin Kilgore was finally hired as the new chief, Open Policing was invited back to provide a more extensive presentation and demo of our platform. We highlighted the Procedural Justice component of our program, which aligned tightly with their values and training. We analyzed their use cases and mapped their community member touch points. This included the field, police department office, telephone, and community events. Based on their unique needs, we created customized methods to direct community feedback to their agency page, a portal we designed to help invite and collect community feedback. The result was a stunning transformation of the way they engage their community, build trust, and obtain real-time community feedback. 

Our Approach | Improving Community Engagement

Seeing the benefits of the Open Policing approach, Chief Kevin Kilgore incorporated our engagement methodology into his department’s daily operational flow. Chief Kilgore shared all the ways in which the Sebastopol Police Department engaged with their community. Like most departments, they interact with people in the field during routine traffic encounters. They also interact with people who visit their police department in downtown Sebastopol, as well as, those who call their dispatch office. Open Policing worked closely with Chief Kilgore and the Sebastopol Police Department to develop a customized approach to invite public feedback and improve community trust and engagement.

Analyzing Touch Points  |  Mapping Community Engagement

Open Policing analyzed all the ways Chief Kilgore’s staff engaged with their community.  Together, we outlined several categories of interactions.  They included:

  • Call to Dispatch
  • Scene of an Accident
  • Community Event
  • Traffic Stop
  • Investigative Follow-up
  • Observation
  • Office Visit
  • Telephone
  • Incident

We designed a way to track feedback for each type of encounter so that later, we could provide rich data analytics to visualize which interactions produced feedback.  Our goal was to implement a solution to measure community trust by age, gender, and ethnicity.  This type of information had never been possible from their existing systems.

Designing for Scalability and Flexibility  |  Keeping it Simple

Chief Kilgore was super clear about not wanting to burden his officers with a cumbersome process to follow, so we designed a custom business card containing a unique QR code to make inviting feedback as simple as possible.   Our approached worked great since his officers were already carrying business cards and in the habit of distributing cards to community members.  Open Policing provided the QR code and content and Chief Kilgore incorporated it into their existing layout.


Defining the Metrics | Implementing & Measuring Procedural Justice

Open Policing has integrated the four pillars of Procedural Justice into our solution to measure, on a national scale, how policing in each community affects public trust.  Procedural Justice is the idea that people’s perception of the quality of police encounters depends less on outcomes, but more on whether they feel treated in a fair or procedurally just way. Research has demonstrated that procedural justice is vital for building trust and increasing legitimacy in policing.  Since Chief Kilgore and his staff have been trained on Procedural Justice, our solution was a natural fit.   Open Policing can also accommodate additional survey questions that are customized for each agency.

Engaging the Public |  Inviting Community Feedback

Before going live, Chief Kilgore met with with his staff.  He shared his vision to implement Open Policing first with his command staff, and later with his entire staff.  He also discussed his plans with the Mayor and City Council so that everyone was well aligned.  A few days before going live, Chief Kilgore drafted and disseminated a Notice of Operational Change (or NOC).  The NOC outlined the new change that required all officers and staff to invite community feedback using the newly designed feedback cards.  Community members would be invited to scan the QR code printed on the cards and be directed to a custom designed agency web page where they can submit feedback.

Chief Kilgore emphasized that each encounter is an opportunity for feedback.  He encouraged his officers and staff to make every encounter matter. That meant going the extra mile to be professional and respectful so that each interaction with a community member resulted in positive representation of the department. For his part, Chief Kilgore was intentional about giving kudos to officers who received commendations from community members.

The Results

Chief Kilgore led the department in transforming a once beleaguered agency into one that now receives the highest rate of commendations throughout the department’s history. Their community feedback scores across all aspects of procedural justice consistently rank above 4.9 out of 5. The best part is that their officers no longer feel anxious about community feedback. Instead, their officers play an active role in inviting community feedback.

"Officer Fenske was so professional and knowledgeable, and fielded the many questions from our staff."





— Sebastopol Community Member, May 6, 2022

This Same Transformation Can Happen For Your Agency

Getting Started is Simple and Secure

The Sebastopol Police Department is one example of a successful implementation.  Join the elite group of law enforcement agencies who use Open Policing to engage their community, build trust, and obtain real-time public feedback.

Want More Proof?

Check out our newest agency, the Tiburon Police Department

The Tiburon Police Department

Open Policing is excited to welcome our newest agency, the Tiburon Police Department.  Chief Ryan Monaghan leads the Tiburon Police Department, an agency located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Officer ... was respectful and generous in performing his duty. We deeply respect our men and women in blue. Even when I get pulled over for. A traffic stop."





— Tiburon Community Member, Sept 27, 2022

"I can’t imagine being a police chief today without something like Open Policing to let me know how my department was doing. You want to build trust? This is the way to find out whether what you are doing is working."

— David Couper, Chief of Police (Ret), Madison, Wisconsin (1972-93)

“In our small town of Moultrie, we are thrilled to be among the first in the country to leverage the Open Policing technology to help us better engage our community and build trust.”

— Chief Frank Lang, Retired (Moultrie Police Department, Moultrie, GA)

You'll Be In Great Company

Let's Do This Together

Build trust in policing in your community though increased engagement, dialogue, and real-time public feedback.