In an effort to provide transparency on police reforms, Columbus Division of Police launched an online dashboard with over 200 recommendations listed with their progress.
In an effort to provide transparency on police reforms, Columbus Division of Police launched an online dashboard with over 200 recommendations listed with their progress.City of Columbus CPD Recommendations Tableau

How accurate is the Columbus police accountability dashboard now?

In each upcoming Crossing the Line issue explaining police reform in Columbus, Matter reporter Edie Driskill will share an update on the Columbus Division of Police’s reform accountability dashboard.

After 15 years in the Patrol Bureau, Gregory Parini transferred to the Police Chief’s office in April as the Organizational Accountability Lieutenant. One of the many responsibilities he inherited is the accountability dashboard launched last October by Mayor Andrew Ginther and former Police Chief Thomas Quinlan.

The city and police division intended to use the dashboard to communicate with the public about the progress being made on the recommendations from the Mayor’s Community Safety Commission and the Matrix Report.

“The whole intention of this is to be transparent — to show that we are trying to make changes that the community is asking about,” Parini said.

In February — prior to Parini’s assignment to the dashboard — Matter reported that the police reform dashboard was not completely transparent and was displaying an inaccurate status for several reform recommendations.

After those stories were published, Sgt. Daniel Edelsberg emailed additional information, responding to fact-checking requests submitted on December 14, 2020. Some answers further confirmed the reporting and others brought up new questions.

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So, where’s the accountability dashboard now?

Six months later in August 2021, the dashboard looks the same as it did when it launched in October 2020, but states it has been updated as of June 16, 2021.

“With the transition from Chief Quinlan to Interim Chief Woods, a new Lieutenant now manages the Dashboard. He has been updating it, but recently discovered that the data he was inputting was only visible internally, not to the public. That has since been corrected- so you should see some updates there now,” Sgt. James Fuqua, spokesperson for the Division of Police, told Matter in a June 2021 email.

As of August 23, Parini has not made any changes to items previously marked “completed” that Matter has fact-checked as not yet completed.

Parini said he gets quarterly updates from the deputy chiefs and commanders, which he scans for items relevant to the recommendations reported on the dashboard. He explained that an item is counted as “completed” if that chief or commander has done all they can do. If another city agency is involved in the initiative, the Division doesn't have that data.

I understand why that may be confusing, and we can look into that, but from the Division of Police's standpoint is that's not something we have the authority to do, that's the responsibility of somebody else. From our standpoint, that is completed.

Gregory Parini, Columbus Division of Police Organizational Accountability Lieutenant

Despite not making any changes to incorrectly labeled reforms fact-checked by Matter, Parini said he is willing to look through those to make any corrections that make the dashboard accurate.

The more he works with it, he said, he might also ask for some design changes.

“The dropdown boxes are great, but it also limits my ability ... I may see if I can tweak [it], just visually, so it's easier for people to understand,” he said.

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