Speak Lab: Police Community Relations

Carnegie Mellon Senior Design Lab

Sense Making: Journey Maps

Sense Making: Stakeholders

Sense Making: Group Analysis

Rough drafts of our collective sense making maps

Major topics of discussion:

Racial Divide
Safety vs Enforcing the Law
“I need the law” vs “I am breaking the law”
‘Cop Goggles’

Narrowed Sense Making: 911

At first I thought 911 as a problem space would be an interesting area to explore. I was curious at how this (often forgotten about) peice of the police department can sometimes be the most critical. The 911 operator is the first touchpoint when asking for help, and the operator is responcible for both getting the proper information and making the right judgment call about how and who can assist you. In someways, this extention of the department can have an effect on your perception of the police, even if you never actually interact with an officer — because of that, I thought the change in this space would reach the most people and perhaps cause the most change.

‘What is accomplished by focusing on a problem space that revolved around the volume of interactions rather than the stake of the interactions?

After looking at how the 911 system works (what kinds of calls it takes, how operators were trained, how many were misdials/not legitimate, how networks are connected to, how responcibility to departments is delegated), I was most surprised not how 911 works, but what it is mostly being used for. Most police related 911 scenarios involved vechicles. Upon further digging, I found that most of police encounters were exclusively traffic stops in particular.

“ According to Department of Justice estimates, in 1999 there were 43,800,000 “contacts” between police and the public nationwide, and 52 percent of these were traffic stops.” (Slate)

Personas | Attempt One

First Attempts at Goals/Solution Spaces

Personas: Feedback/Secondary Attempts

Persona Scenario

In this interaction, there is both a good and a bad outcome; most interestingly though is that the point of friction is the same within both scenarios — the questioning/conversation. As a citizen, you have a right under the fifth amendment to not to incriminate yourself. What this right looks like in practice is to politely decline to answer any and all questions asked by police officers, including consenting to physical requests (‘step out of your car’) or searches (‘is it ok if I look in here?’). However, in all the forums I’m reading online, people only recommend this tactic if you are undeniably guilty of a crime. Otherwise, it is seen as disrespectful, incredibly suspicious, and a way to ‘guarentee to get a ticket’. However, people do so because it minimizes the chance of in criminalizing/getting other crimes tacked on to the original violation. Still, this seems like a lose-lose situation.

Once the person accepts their wrong doing/ticket, what good does a futher conversation do since they have already accepted their violation of the law?

Final Draft Scenario