Virginia town rolls out Uber-style ratings for police officers

Police officers in Warrenton, Virginia, are handing out QR codes to people they interact with and asking them to anonymously grade them on their fairness, professionalism and listening skills.

The rollout of the so-called Guardian Score program, which uses real-time data analytics and insights to understand how police officers treat people, is funded by a grant from the PATH Foundation, according to a news release.

As part of the program, officers will hand out cards to each person they have an interaction with. The cards have a QR code that sends people to a digital survey. Each card is tied to a unique interaction and to the officer handing it out — and can only be used once.

The anonymous survey asks people to rate officers on their ability to explain “why,” their listening skills, fairness, professionalism and their ability to explain next steps.

The Warrenton police department participated in a 90-day pilot of the program, and got mostly positive responses.



“This program provides a great way for us to thoroughly measure our officers’ effectiveness and impact on the community,” said Chief Mike Kochis with Town of Warrenton Police Department, in the news release.

The Guardian Score program, which is available to police departments across the country, says the data is not publicly accessible. The program’s website takes as its inspiration driver- and rider-rating tools on ride-hailing platforms, asking, “Why can we rate Uber drivers but not police officers?”

An FAQ on the Guardian Score website says, “Guardian Score is not a public forum to complain about officers. Guardian Score is not a complaint reporting tool. Guardian Score is a tool to help police leaders identify officers in need of improvement, training issues, and behavior role models.”

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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