Summary of the Role of Vendors and Community Input in Policy Development

As part of Phase III, OPO contacted police departments and oversight offices in 15 cities across the country to learn more about the processes they use to draft police department policies.

The cities examined included the following:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Memphis
  • New Orleans
  • Portland
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San José
  • Seattle

This report discusses important findings about how the police departments in these cities research and formulate their policies, whether they use vendor policies and the extent to which they use community input to inform their policies.

Below are key findings from this research:

1. None of these 8 responding cities use vendors for policy writing.

The responding cities included Baltimore, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Portland, San Antonio, and San Francisco. OPO conducted desk research on the 7 other cities and did not find any information about whether they currently contract with vendors for policy writing.

2. Vendor policies may indirectly impact cities that keep their policymaking processes in-house.

This suggests a need for increased transparency around the source of policy language, ensuring that policymakers are as fully informed as possible about the role of vendors and other contributors and can share that information openly with community members.

3. Police departments use a range of methods to research best practices and collect community input, and the departments with more structured processes for community input take a multi-faceted approach that includes opportunities for both a broad response and a more focused response.

The San Francisco Police Department stood out as a police department with one of the most robust and transparent processes for incorporating community input into the policymaking process, utilizing structured focus groups, a public comment period, and structured mechanisms for collaborating with San Francisco’s civilian oversight office.

4. Many oversight entities redirected questions about policymaking to their city’s police department, often citing a lack of detailed information.

This may suggest that current policymaking processes in these police departments lack transparency or that oversight bodies in these cities are not directly and routinely involved in the departments’ policymaking processes.

Contact information

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Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676
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