According to Springfield Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Cox, the survey is part of the National Police Research Platform’s Police Community Interaction (PCI) Survey administered by the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The survey is designed to collect information that could help improve police procedures and approaches on a local, state and national level.
Next week, the SPD will offer individuals who have had contact with police an opportunity to participate in the survey.
Participating in the survey will be simple. As police reports are filed, a letter will be sent to community members asking them to take a survey. The survey is available in Spanish and English and can be taken either online or by telephone.
An online survey can be accessed through a computer or by scanning a QR code with a smart phone or tablet device. The letters will include a special code needed to participate in the survey to ensure that only one survey is completed for each encounter.
Police Chief Paul Williams says no one asked to participate in the survey should be concerned that the information could be used in other ways.
“None of the survey information will be collected by the SPD since all survey responses will be managed by the UIC researchers,” Williams says.
The results provided to the agency will not include any information identifying the individual responding to the survey or the officer involved in the contact, as this information is never provided to UIC researchers.
Police encounters that involve traffic accidents and stops, as well as most non-violent crimes, will be part of survey. However, encounters that result from domestic violence or sexual assault, or which involve juveniles, will not be surveyed.
The SPD is one of 100 agencies to participate in the program.
Based on a pilot program that is part of the National Police Research Platform administered by UIC researchers, participating agencies will be able to use the survey data to monitor their performance and improve their training programs.
The department’s hope is that they receive honest feedback.
“Only then can we truly understand how our officers are interacting with the community and implement changes where they are needed,” says Williams.
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