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FCPD starts pilot program to survey community interactions via text

Fairfax County police cruiser (via FCPD/Facebook)

A new pilot program that aims to understand community sentiment about the Fairfax County Police Department is underway.

Through a partnership with Axon, a San Francisco-based startup, the police department is deploying a nine-month program that sends text messages to people who reach out for specific services.

Community members receive a link to a survey that asks question addressing views of FCPD prior to the interaction and overall perceptions of the interaction. The program began on May 20.

The program is powered by Axon’s My90, a community engagement and research tool specifically created to “build bridges between the community and the police with data-drive technology,” according to its website.

It’s not the first time the FCPD has gauged feedback during police-resident interactions.

Last year, the department began seeking feedback with a survey accessed with a QR code after residents interacted with police.

“We are hoping to expand beyond the QR code and incorporate more robust analytics and reach to enhance our ability to track our community contacts,” FCPD wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

The department did not indicate what service requests will prompt text messages, noting that its leadership selected “numerous calls for service based on its appropriateness.”

“We are hoping to engage with the community and to seek additional ways to understand how the community feels about the agency in a more robust analytical way,” FCPD said.

Once the pilot is over, the department hopes to use lessons learned to find a more permanent feedback mechanism.

“We hope to learn more from this tool and continue to look for a permanent solution to receive input from the services we provide to the community,” FCPD said.

Residents can also access the survey online. FCPD says the responses are confidential.

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