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Ogden police unveil data dashboard on officer use of force

By Mark Shenefelt - | May 12, 2022

Image supplied, Ogden Police Department

One of the data charts available on the Ogden Police Department's Use of Force Report.

OGDEN — The Ogden Police Department has unveiled a public reporting system that presents data about officers’ use of force as well as attacks on police, a service that officials touted as an improvement in law enforcement transparency.

The Use of Force Report, to be updated monthly, came about after members of the NAACP’s Ogden branch raised concerns about police transparency after shootings and other uses of force by officers, Lt. William Farr, the police department’s spokesperson, said Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the department issued a news release about the report offering. “Chief of Police Eric Young would like to thank the Ogden chapter of the NAACP for our ongoing partnership and their input in the development of this tool,” the announcement said.

As of Thursday, the report page, described as a transparency dashboard, showed only data from November 2021. Farr said that data was used in the software prototype testing. Over time, more monthly data will be added, to a point where the most recent posted data will be no more than 60 days old.

The dashboard reports how many officer use of force incidents occurred in a given month, and what types of force were used — such as, in November, there were three incidents in which the types of force used were knees/kicks, hands/fists, and an impact weapon.

Also reported are suspects’ actions against police, such as physical threat or attack, or resisting officer control. The report breaks down the gender and race of suspects and the extent of injury — injured, killed or treated at hospital.

One chart displays the numbers and types of calls for service. In November, there were about 7,100 total calls. Officers went to calls involving weapons (42), domestic violence (175), suicidal or mental health crises (74) and fights or disturbances (245), among others.

Farr said the dashboard will help spotlight tendencies that may spur “any kind of training to help curb a trend that needs to be curbed.” That may include how to best employ de-escalation tactics, he said.

“The NAACP came forward and requested that they wanted more transparency in a lot of these areas,” Farr said. Police took the recommendations and worked through how use of force incident data could be better disclosed “and what things could be released and couldn’t be released.” In that vein, Farr said victims, officers and others involved in cases are not identified in the dashboard.

Farr said the Use of Force program was developed by a staff member in the agency’s Ogden Area Tactical Analysis Center.

Efforts to contact the Ogden NAACP were not immediately successful.

The parents of Jovany Mercado, a 26-year-old man fatally shot by Ogden police, have sued the city in federal court, alleging excessive use of force. Mercado, who was Hispanic, was advancing toward officers, a knife held at his side and not answering police commands, when he was killed on Aug. 16, 2019.

The Use of Force Report is linked from the police department’s homepage at ogdencity.com/271/Police-Department.

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