Transparency

Police departments are turning to AI to sift through millions of hours of unreviewed body-cam footage

Body camera video equivalent to 25 million copies of “Barbie” is collected but rarely reviewed. Some cities are looking to new technology to examine this stockpile of footage to identify problematic officers and patterns of behavior.

How Chicago became an unlikely leader in body-camera transparency

The city has a long history of brutal, violent policing, but its latest approach to body-worn cameras and police oversight could serve as a national model.

How police have undermined the promise of body cameras

Hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars have been spent on what was sold as a revolution in transparency and accountability. Instead, police departments routinely refuse to release footage—even when officers kill.

A road map for the lawful use of stop-and-frisk in Philadelphia–and elsewhere

With adequate training of officers and clear guidelines that increase transparency, police can use stop-and-frisk as a lawful mechanism to reduce crime and violence, while honoring residents’ constitutional rights.

2024 mission for state and local leaders: Protect democracy

COMMENTARY | By making voting easy, transparent and secure, state and local leaders can ensure election systems remain strong in 2024.

How efforts to restrict democracy in Ohio also make it harder to fight climate change

Gerrymandering, voter suppression, dark money and other moves insulate policymakers from accountability when they prop up fossil fuels at the expense of clean energy.

After George Floyd’s murder, more states require release of police disciplinary records

Lawmakers and advocates say open data on police disciplinary records would boost transparency, accountability and the ability to identify patterns of misconduct in law enforcement agencies.

AI could shore up democracy—Here’s one way

COMMENTARY | Public comment could soon swamp government officials and representatives, thanks to AI, but AI could also help spot compelling stories from constituents.

AI Is Used Widely, but Lawmakers Have Set Few Rules

Connecticut is the latest state to legislate new guardrails for artificial intelligence.

Key Parts of US Laws are Hard for the Public to Find and Read

Oblique or missing references to standards and codes specified by law make it difficult for judges, lawyers and the general public to comply with regulations.

3 Ways Governments Can Regain Citizens’ Trust

COMMENTARY | Transparency, efficiency and accountability are the key ingredients to rebuilding confidence.

States and Cities are Moving to Make Virtual Hearings Permanent

In the nation's statehouses and city halls, officials want remote meetings to outlast the Covid-19 crisis. Disability advocates are among those who support the idea. Others worry about the loss of in-person interactions and diminished oversight.

Mayor Snagged in WhatsApp Debate

Use of the encrypted messaging app by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration rekindles discussion over apps that allow officials to skirt the spirit, if not the letter, of open records laws.

Legislation Seeks to Block Secrecy With Economic Development Deals

Bills put forward in at least three states aim to ensure there's transparency around tax breaks and other incentives.

How One City is Working to Make Spending Data More Transparent

Efforts by Los Angeles' controller to open up city fiscal data took on an added dimension when Covid-19 hit.

Billions Are Coming From Washington. The Fraudsters and the Corrupt Are Drooling.

COMMENTARY | Local governments should recognize the potential threat of corrupt uses of federal stimulus money by public officials. There are some steps auditors and honest public leaders can take to prevent fraudulent activity.

A Transparent Look at How Governments Are Spending the $350B in ARPA Funds

On Aug. 31, states and large localities had to provide reports on how they are allocating their federal funds. They also have to post them on transparency websites, which can help them learn from one another and coordinate spending plans.

These Steps Can Help Build Trust in Vaccination Programs

COMMENTARY | States and localities should prioritize using clear, science-based communication, restoring trust and providing better data to address the hesitancy some people have about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

In One State, a Battle Over Publicly Naming Disciplined Police Officers

A state appeals court in New Jersey ruled that the attorney general does have the power to compel police departments to disclose the names of police officers who have been disciplined for misconduct.

A State Moves to Publicly Disclose Information on Workplace Coronavirus Outbreaks

The decision by Oregon officials comes after scrutiny over outbreaks at a fruit company there.