For the last year or so—sparked by nationwide protests that materialized following a few instances of violence—lack of transparency in law enforcement has periodically dominated public discourse. As local administrators pivot to address these concerns within their communities, emerging technologies can help agencies identify and prevent racial bias.
New software developed by the California-based artificial intelligence tech company Veritone, for example, automatically collects data during police traffic stops. The system, called Veritone Contact, was designed to help law enforcement agencies stay compliant with California’s Racial Identity and Profiling Act (RIPA).
The legislation was passed into law a few years ago and requires all agencies to start collecting this information by Jan. 1, 2022 and “subsequently report it to the state’s Department of Justice by 2023,” a brief from Veritone notes. “By collecting detailed perceived demographic information during traffic and pedestrian stops, this transparency initiative aims to prevent racial profiling and bias, but can be time consuming for officers, keeping them from their primary patrol responsibilities.”
Currently, more than 70 California law enforcement agencies have contracted the software company, with at least 30 more expected to be enrolled by the end of the year. It’s beneficial in that it streamlines an otherwise tedious and time-consuming process, according to Justin Murphy, a captain with the Escondido Police Department.
“Our agency is under increased pressure to balance public transparency and preserve individual privacy,” said Murphy in a statement. “Veritone Contact provides our officers with a simplified way to collect required observational data and ensures we comply with the latest legislation. The technology helps us redirect countless hours of valuable time and resources to continue our most important job of maintaining public safety.”
Besides demographic information, the system allows users to customize additional information that’s collected. This customization can “provide supplemental observations (that) can further assist with constituent transparency initiatives and officer training,” the brief says,
A study released this year by Veritone notes the challenge faced by communities in increasing transparency, and highlights the beneficial role that technology can play. The report, “Transparency and Trust: Shining Light …….