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How does CPDP work?
What's with the triangles?
What's with the triangles?

Each officer has a distinctive graph to show how their record compares with the rest of the police force. It looks like a triangle.

Chaclyn Hunt avatar
Written by Chaclyn Hunt
Updated over a week ago

Each officer profile on CPDP has a distinctive graph to show whether their rate of civilian complaints, officer complaints, and use of force reports per year is relatively high or low compared with the rest of the police force. If you click on it, then you'll see a brief explanation.

The corners of the triangle show the percentile score for this officer in each of three dimensions: complaints from civilians, complaints from other officers, and use of force reports.

If one corner of the black inner triangle is close to reaching the corner of the outer triangle, then this officer is named in a relatively high rate of incidents of that type, compared with other officers.

What is the scale?

The scale for each corner is zero to one hundred percent. If an officer’s percentile rank for civilian complaints is 99% then this means that they were accused in more civilian complaints per year than 99% of other officers.

Why not just show the total number of allegations? 

There are two problems with just looking at the number of allegations against a particular officer. First, there's a big difference between getting 5 complaints in 1 year versus 5 complaints in 10 years, but if you just look at the total count without taking into consideration how many years the officer was active, then you can't tell the difference. Second, complaints from civilians, complaints from other officers, and self-reported uses of force are three different types of events so the officer's percentile for each must be calculated separately.

One of the most frequently asked question that we hear is "how many complaints is too many complaints?" The answer is not so simple but by displaying a percentile rather than a count you can at least get a sense of whether or not this officer has a relatively high rate compared with the rest of the police force.

What's the animation?

The graph animates to show how this officer's percentile rank has changed from year to year. 

If you click on the question mark in the corner then an explainer will appear and you can see the exact percentile rank per year for each corner in a table from there.

What does it mean if it's blank?

Civilian and officer complaint percentiles are based on data that is only available since 2000, use of force data is only available back to 2004. 

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