University police 'Equity Dashboard' tracks arrests, 'use of force' incidents by race

University of Wisconsin Madison police department's new Equity Dashboard includes an admission of their "legacy of harm" against minorities.

Campus Reform spoke with a police officer about the dashboard's focus on race.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department (UWPD) maintains an “Equity Dashboard” that tracks law enforcement encounters by race, ethnicity, and gender. 

”This dashboard is the result of more than a year of collaboration through our Racial Equity Initiative,” the police department states on its website. 

The dashboard launched Dec. 9 as the result of the university’s “Racial Equity Initiative,” which the institution announced in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd. 

The initiative is meant to “align” departmental practices “with Campaign Zero’s police reform recommendations,” according to the site. Campaign Zero is a national nonprofit organization focused on police reform. 

[RELATED: Campus police departments in US provide crucial student programs, support to communities]

Data from 2021 reveals that the majority of campus police encounters involved White individuals and those not affiliated with the university. 

In 2021, the police department made 102 arrests. Only 6% of those arrested were affiliated with the university. Among all arrests, 64% were White, 31% were Black, and 4% were Hispanic/Latino. Additionally, 85% of the individuals were male. 

The police department also tracked “use of force” during the same time period. Officers applied use of force to 31 individuals, 94% of whom were not affiliated with the school. 

The demographic breakdown for this set is 61% White, 35% Black, 10% Hispanic/Latino, and 74% male.

Campus Reform spoke with a Virginia State police officer who characterized these policies as “completely missing the point.”

[RELATED: OP-ED: OSU missed an opportunity to show support for law enforcement when it coddled student who assaulted a police officer]

The officer, who requested anonymity, cited economic disparities and geography as crucial factors. 

“[H]igher levels of interaction between the police and the public are correlated to the amount of violent crime in the area,” the officer stated. 

Campus Reform reached out to the university and its police department for comment. 

Marc Lovicott, executive director of communications for UWPD, referred Campus Reform to Police Chief Kristen Roman’s video message on the Equity Dashboard homepage.