All reports generated by DSS-J should be relevant, accurate, objective, visually compelling and understandable to non-professionals, but with sufficient background and analysis to engage justice professionals. These reports should encourage a robust exchange of ideas among affected agencies and interested stakeholders regarding the causes of and solutions to problems in public safety, based upon data rather than opinion or anecdote. Reports with these features will not only increase the likelihood of identifying and solving operational and systemic problems in public safety; such reports will increase the demand by justice policy makers and professionals for even more relevant data and reports, leading to greater reliance on DSS-J and more effective public safety policies and practices.

The Safety Priority Brief is a notable example of a report with this potential. Using data pulled from DSS-J and other sources, the monthly Brief displays a set of key trends and developments throughout the public safety system and is intended to alert policy makers to inefficient or ineffective processes, operations, programs and policies and to help identify changes to improve system efficiency and effectiveness. However, a recent survey of readers of the Brief revealed a demand for additional analysis and in-depth commentary regarding the significance of public safety trends and developments tracked by the report. The survey recommended that LPSCC staff expand the Brief to include an analytical quarterly supplement, which would include narrative and analysis that suggests (a) the causes of problematic trends and developments in the public safety system, (b) inefficient or ineffective policies, strategies and practices that may be contributing to these trends and (c) potential improvements in these policies, strategies and practices.

In order to realize the full potential of this report and others generated through DSS-J, analysts must have more time to analyze data and spend less time collecting and managing data. For example, while DSS-J Online offers many reports that feed directly into the Brief, an analyst still must take the time to rerun several reports each month, copy and paste the data into Excel, check it for accuracy, and then generate a graph. If this process could be further automated by establishing a direct connection between the data and the Excel chart used to generate the graphs in the Brief, then the analyst would have more time to spend on additional analysis.


Action

  1. Determine feasibility of establishing a direct DSS-J feed into data analysis software (e.g., Excel, SPSS). Lead: County IT
  2. Develop dashboard reporting, mapping and other features on the DSS-J web tool that would help analysts identify trends that they want to investigate further. Lead: Elizabeth Davies / County IT / PSAT
  3. Identify additional data and topical areas (such as domestic violence) to include as a supplement to the monthly Safety Priorities Brief. Lead: Elizabeth Davies
  4. Explore opportunities to use DSS-J data for regular updates on performance measures included in agency program offers. Lead: Elizabeth Davies / County IT / Budget Office Rep