Article by Emily Davies: “Chris Ford stepped on the gas in his police cruiser and rolled down Gold Cup Drive to catch the SUV pushing 30 mph in a 15 mph zone. Eleven hours and 37 minutes into his shift, the corporal was ready for his first traffic stop of the day.
“Look at him being sneaky,” Fordsaid, his blue lights flashing on a quiet road in this small town where a busy day could mean animals escaped from a local slaughterhouse.
Ford parked, walked toward the SUV and greeted the man who had ignored the speed limit at exactly the wrong time.
“I was doing 15,” said the driver, a Black man in a mostly White neighborhood of a mostly White town.
The officertook his license and registration back to the cruiser.
“Every time I pull over someone of color, they’re standoffish with me. Like, ‘Here’s a White police officer, here we go again.’ ” Ford, 56, said. “So I just try to be nice.”
Ford knew the stop would be scrutinized — and not just by the reporter who was allowed to ride along on his shift.
After every significant encounter with residents, officers in Warrenton are required to hand out a QR code, which is on the back of their business card, asking for feedback on the interaction. Through a series of questions, citizens can use a star-based system to rate officers on their communication, listening skills and fairness. The responses are anonymous and can be completed any time after the interaction to encourage people to give honest assessments. The program, called Guardian Score, is supposed to give power to those stopped by police in a relationship that has historically felt one-sided — and to give police departments a tool to evaluate their force on more than arrests and tickets.
“If we started to measure how officers are treating community members, we realized we could actually infuse this into the overall evaluation process of individual officers,” said Burke Brownfeld, a founder of Guardian Score and a former police officer in Alexandria. “The definition of doing a good job could change. It would also include: How are your listening skills? How fairly are you treating people based on their perception?”…(More)”.