OpenOversight is a Lucy Parsons Labs project to improve police accountability using public and crowdsourced data. We maintain a database of police officers and provide a digital gallery that allows the public to identify the name and badge number of a police officer they would like to file a complaint about.
OpenOversight is the first project of its kind in the United States and is a direct response to the failure of Chicago's leaders to take proactive steps that allow the public to identify and report problem police officers. OpenOversight is released as free and open source software so others can launch similar police accountability projects in their own cities. The software is available for download on GitHub.
Legal A note to Illinois law enforcement
This project does not perform facial recognition and is thus in compliance with the Biometric Information Privacy Act. Requests or questions regarding this project from those affiliated with law enforcement must be directed to our legal representation.
For media inquries about OpenOversight, please send us an email.
In support of demands for greater police accountability in Chicago and nationwide, Illinois nonprofit The Lucy Parsons Labs launched OpenOversight an interactive web tool that makes it easier for Chicago residents to file complaints against police officers. OpenOversight is an accountability platform for helping the public identify police officers for the purpose of filing complaints. We rely on crowdsourced and public data to build a database of police officers in a city, allowing the public to filter through the dataset to find the name and badge number of the offending officer.
Using OpenOversight, members of the public can search for the names and badge numbers of Chicago police they have negative interactions with based on where that interaction took place and the officer's estimated age, race and gender. Using this information, the OpenOversight web application returns a digital gallery of potential matches and, when possible, includes pictures of officers in uniform to assist in identification. "The deck is stacked against people harmed by Chicago police," says Jennifer Helsby, CTO of the Lucy Parsons Labs and lead developer on the OpenOversight project. "Despite a long history of proven abuses, including torture, Chicago police are almost never held accountable for misconduct or crimes they commit. To file a misconduct complaint, the burden is on the public to provide as much detailed data about the officer as possible. OpenOversight aims to empower Chicagoans with tools that make it easier to identify officers and hold them accountable."
Facts and Figures about Chicago Police Department:
- To file a police complaint in Chicago, a member of the public needs to know as much detailed data about the officer as possible. Based on complaints data from the Invisible Institute, from March 2011 - March 2015, 28% of complaints (4,000 total complaints) were immediately dropped due to no officer identification. Source: Citizen Police Data Project
- All complaints against officers must be supported by a sworn affidavit. False complaints can result in perjury charges, a Class 3 felony. Source: Chicago Police
- Less than 2% of the 28,567 complaints filed against the Chicago police department from March 2011 to September 2015 resulted in discipline. Most officers who do face discipline are suspended for a week or less. Source: Citizens Police Data Project
- Chicago spent over $500 million from 2004 to 2014 on settlements, legal fees and other costs related to complaints against police officers. Source: Better Government Association