National Justice Database

The National Justice Database (NJD) is the nation’s first database tracking national statistics on police behavior, standardizing data collection practices, and spurring data-driven reforms in participating departments. It supports the Justice Navigator, an interactive tool containing targeted analyses of police data as well as a range of resources to help drive change in public safety.

History of the National Justice Database

Creating a national justice database wasn’t our idea.

In fact, it was actually a major city police chief who suggested that such a database be created to help law enforcement professionals, officers, supporters, changemakers, and others to better understand how best to serve and protect.

From that idea, CPE expanded its services and began developing the National Justice Database. Agencies participating in the NJD initiative submit departmental data, and then CPE applies a rigorous analytic framework to produce analyses that examine equity in police practices. The results produced by the NJD analyses help individual departments chart a path toward equitable policing, while contributing to long-term national insights about policing practices.

A Unique Approach to Analyzing Disparities in Policing

By integrating crime data, demographic data, and police behavioral data, the NJD provides unique analyses that help infer what portion of racial disparities results from police behavior and departmental policies as opposed to other external factors. These data are further integrated, in some cases, with psychological surveys of officers and residents, allowing for the first-ever chance to diagnose what role biases (implicit or explicit), job stresses, and other psychological factors play in the production of disparate policing outcomes. All of this is made possible with the speed and automation of software developed in collaboration with Google, as well as the support of other key philanthropic partners.

Focusing on what causes racial disparities in policing and how one can measure these disparities, the NJD uses tools taken from sociology, demography, public policy, criminology, psychology, and behavioral economics. This project capitalizes on existing research collaborations between Center for Policing Equity and law enforcement departments across the United States to produce a mixed-method approach to understanding what produces racial inequality in policing.

How Departments Can Participate in the National Justice Database

Improving policing practices begins with measuring what matters. Because each agency collects data differently, CPE will work with participating departments to identify the requested data, and organize it to guarantee it not only meets NJD standards, but reflects what was received. Along the way, CPE provides feedback to departments to ensure accuracy and enable the improvement of their data collection. CPE then analyzes the submitted data to identify indicators as to whether inequitable practices are at play within a department, what portion of identified racial disparities are likely to have resulted from police behavior, and the specific conditions that may play a part in these practices. CPE displays those results in Justice Navigator assessments.

These results position departments to proactively manage risk factors that can lead to inequitable policing practices, weaken relationships between the community and officers, and ultimately undermine officers and public safety.

In need of more in-depth support for your agency’s reform efforts? CPE also offers the COMPSTAT for Justice (C4J) program for departments that would benefit from long-term and effective assistance in constraining risks and enhancing relationships with the public.

To speak to a CPE Implementation Specialist about joining the NJD, submit an inquiry here.