Officers’ smart cards foster transparency, community trust
Police in Alpharetta, Georgia, are testing smart cards that citizens can scan with their mobile devices to access officer-specific contact and case information.
With a new twist on the old-fashioned business card, the Department of Public Safety in Alpharetta, Georgia, is making it easier for the community to get to know their local law enforcement officers.
The city’s police department is the first agency in the country to pilot the use of smart cards that citizens can scan with their mobile devices to access officer-specific contact and case information. The technology was developed by Montana-based Police Smart Card, according to a recent release.
During an interaction with the police, residents use their smartphone’s camera to scan either a QR code on the officer’s smart business card or, since the cards are enabled with near-field communication, tap it with their device.
This will take users to a web page where they will see the officer’s name and badge number and where they can download a vCard with the officer’s contact information. Crime victims can also enter a case number, which allows them to share information with officers assigned to their case.
Additionally, users can complete a survey to provide feedback on their interaction with the police. Negative feedback will be sent straight to the officer’s supervisor, while the more positive responses can be viewed by the officer the same day to boost morale, according to coverage by WSB-TV Atlanta.
Through the smart card platform, the department will be better able to store and analyze data on officers’ performance and public interactions, Alpharetta Police Captain Mike Stewart said. This data will help the city gain an understanding of how each individual is performing in the field, whether an officer needs customized training and how to improve interactions across the force.
Department officials say improving the perception of the police is key to building positive and more personal relationships with the community – and that begins with transparency.
“Legitimacy comes from transparency, and we see the smart cards as a way to be even more transparent while also making it easier for the public to interact with us,” Stewart said. “If you have a good interaction, we want to know. If you have a not so good interaction, we want to know. And in either case, we want it to be easy for you to tell us because that makes it easier for us to identify issues we need to address.”