“The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” -William Lawrence Bragg
A sentence said in a different tone can take on an entirely new meaning. The same sentence can be interpreted in different ways depending on the listener. This is why people spend a great amount of time crafting their message – so the meaning can be perfectly understood.
But what about the data available at our fingertips? Do you take the time to display it in a clear way, so that everyone comes up with the same interpretation? Researchers have recognized that displaying and analyzing data is one of the most important steps in the scientific process. Public safety agencies can also benefit by painting a clear and accurate picture with the data available to them.
In 2006, the National Institute of Justice funded RTI International to develop and test a process for analyzing and prioritizing data from 911 calls for service. The initial research focused on clues in calls that might identify terrorist behavior. For example, 911 calls about suspicious behavior near a bridge could signal something sinister… or could simply be the result of a tourist trying to take the perfect photo. Police officers complete reports only for events that turn out to be incidents, losing the perspective of the initial caller. Or, if the incident appears to be harmless, there may be no report at all. Details, that in hindsight turn out to be very important, can be easily overlooked. Using 911 data captures all of this information and allows it to be easily analyzed.
The initial study also found concrete methods to filter a large volume of data into smaller subsets of incidents, producing operationally relevant findings. Researchers recognized the potential for the use of calls-for-service data to influence staffing and resource allocation, decision-making, citizen reporting, officer training, and for quickly adapting to emerging trends in data analysis
CFS Analytics™ was born out of this research. Police, fire, and EMS agencies have always had their 911 call data available, but many times, each has a different and sometimes cumbersome process to analyze that data. As a cloud-based application, CFS Analytics™ provides public safety analysis as an easy-to-read and -organize dashboard, with charts and graphs to display data, and a cost-effective way to provide agencies a more complete reporting application
Interpreting the data in new ways can change the conversation for the better.