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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Walkthrough - Use of Force Dashboard

1. Report Overview

The Use of Force Dashboard is an interactive data visualization of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) uses of force. For more information on the PPB’s policies on the use of force and the investigation procedures for deadly force incidents, see section 1010 of the Directives Manual:

Use of force data is updated on a quarterly basis.

2. Technical Specifications

This report has been customized to work on personal computers, smart phones and tablets. For the best experience, it is recommended you use a desktop or laptop computer.

No additional software is required to use this report. The report runs completely within the internet browser using JavaScript. Most modern browsers automatically activate JavaScript; however, it can be turned off based on the security settings of the computer. For more information on activating JavaScript, refer to the browser’s help section or click here for help on Windows computers and click here for help on Apple computers.

3. Using the Interactive Features

The Use of Force Dashboard is an interactive data visualization. This interactivity allows users to filter the information based on the questions they are hoping to answer with this dataset. An overview of the pre-built filters and explanations of the visualizations is included below.

a. Filters
Filters are enabled on the dashboard for use in narrowing the scope of the data. This dashboard utilizes visuals as filters, meaning that many of the visualizations and figures can be filtered by clicking within the charts and graphs. For example, clicking a date header on a chart will filter the entire dashboard for that date.

Multiple filters can also be selected. Once a selection has been made a user can continue to click on additional items to filter the visuals further. To make multiple selections within the same graph or chart hold down ‘Ctrl’ on your keyboard and make your selections by clicking several items with your mouse cursor. A user can also click and drag within the same chart or graph to make multiple selections. Click the same item to deselect it and remove the filter. See section “c.” below for additional features related to undoing and resetting filters.

b. Tooltips
Additional information will sometimes be displayed by hovering over certain icons and most charts. Within certain charts, graphs and figures hover the cursor over an item and a pop-up will appear displaying additional text.

c. Toolbar
The toolbar, located at the bottom of the visualization, contains several buttons that assist in the analysis of the data.

The “Undo” and “Redo” buttons become active when filters have been selected. They operate just like the Undo and Redo buttons in other programs such as Microsoft Word.

The “Reset” button reverts all filters back to their original settings. This is a great way to start with a “clean slate” after clicking several filters.

Tableau is the name of the software used to create this report visualization.

The “Download” button allows users to save a static version of the visualization. This option is great for printing out copies of the dashboard to share at meetings or to include in a presentation.

“Get the App” takes you to a download page to acquire a free trial of Tableau Desktop. This is not necessary, or recommended, to fully analyze and view the report.

“Tableau Workbook” allows for you to download a file that works with the full version of Tableau Desktop, mentioned above. This is not necessary or recommended and can only be opened with a current version of Tableau.

“PDF” allows users to export the report, with any filters that have been selected, as a PDF. The options dialogue allows custom scaling and paper size options. When choosing to export as PDF make sure to keep the layout as portrait and content as “this dashboard.”

“Image” creates a .png file of the report with all of the selected filters.

 4. Visualizations Walkthrough

a. Summary page
This graphic provides a summary of all calls for service (both dispatched/9-1-1 and those initiated by officers), custodies and uses of force as a percentage of those figures for the dates selected.

The dropdown at the top of the page allows for selection of independent quarters or all quarters together.





Hovering over the information icon in the custodies box will reveal a pop-up for additional information.

Below the data is an infographic which provides an example case of a potential use of force scenario. It is not meant to depict a typical use of force instance, but rather act as a tool for understanding how use of force is categorized and counted for reporting purposes. 

b. Timeline page
The line graph visual on the Timeline page allows users to view multiple time periods since July 2017 through the most recent quarter of released data. Note that uses of force counting methods were updated in Q3 2017. Hovering over the red triangle on the dashboard will reveal a pop-up with more information. Additionally, another pop-up icon is available in the top-left of the page which provides definitions for the listed filters.

The Date Selector dropdown can be utilized by selecting any of the current or previous individual quarters, or aggregated for all time periods.

There are also four radio button filters. One more can be selected at a time to filter the line graphs.

Hover over the information icon in the color legend for definitions of the measures.

Hovering over the line measures will also reveal pop-ups of the counts and their respective occurrence months.











c. Demographics page
Each of the top two charts on this page list either the subject of force’s race or sex, along with the total number of times and percentage of times a person of a listed race or sex was involved in a use of force event. Furthermore, the subject’s demographics are broken down by how often they were armed during a use of force event, or whether an officer perceived them as being under the influence of
drugs and/or alcohol, undergoing a mental health crisis or houseless.

For example, in the table above, out of the 1,020 individuals that were involved in use of force incidents, 232 of them were women, representing 22.7% of the overall population. Additionally, 16.4% of those females were armed at the time of use of force, 44.4% were perceived as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the final two categories in that row show how often females were perceived as having mental health crises or houseless.

Any of the listed headers (for both the subject race and subject sex tables) can also be clicked to filter the rest of the figures on the page. For example, by clicking on the ‘Male’ header in the above table, the “Use of Force by Subject Race” will filter for male subjects only. Click ‘Male’ again to deselect.

Below the two tables is a histogram of subject’s ages as a percentage of the total. Each bar or header can be clicked to filter the tables for the selected age ranges. Hover over the bars to reveal a pop-up of the overall percentage as well as the actual count.

d. Force by Subject Status page
Each statistic on this page is listed as a percentage of the total of the number of times a type of force was used, or as a count for each column. All possible use of force type is listed along the left side of the visual in alphabetic order. Definitions for the use of force types can be accessed through the hyperlink at the bottom of the page.

There are six potential items for comparison available in the “Comparison Selector” dropdown in the top-left corner of the page. The default selection is ‘Category Totals’, which will list the number of times a force type was used for the selected time period (also filterable using the ‘Date Filter’ dropdown’).

All other listed options will provide a percentage of the total calculation for each column.

In the example below, the ‘Subject Armed’ selection has been made. There are two possible answers for whether a subject was armed doing a use of force instance, yes, or no. The percentages listed show how often a particular use of type was used for each of these answers. In the example below, when a subject was armed, an Aerosol Restraint use of force type was used 1.9% of the time compared to all other use of force types. When a subject was not armed (the “No” column), an Aerosol Restraint was used even less frequently at 0.6% of the time.

Figure boxes are also shaded to correspond to their overall percentage of the total. So a force type used more frequently will have a darker shade of blue, while force types used less often will be a lighter shade of blue comparatively.

Note that officer-involved shootings (except to put down a suffering animal or when used against an aggressive animal) and instances in which deadly force were used are not included in this dataset or anywhere else in this workbook. These statistics are reported separately and cases involving officer-involved shootings can be accessed using the hyperlink at the bottom-right of the Force by Subject Status page.

e. Call Categories page
The Call Categories page is set up much in the same way as the Force by Subject Status page. The same six options for comparison are available, in addition to filters for how a call was initiated, when it took place (by quarter) and by subject race. The top twenty initial call categories by count are listed along the left side of the page in order of frequency from most to least (in total, so they will not change when filters are applied).

Each column will sum to 100%. So in the example below, when an Asian subject was involved in a use of force case, the call was categorized as a ‘Disturbance’ 23.3% of the time. The chart does not say that Asian subjects accounted for 23.3% of all call categories that began as disturbance calls.

5. Data Download page

On the final tab of the dashboard, “Data Download”, is a preview of the available data for download. The dataset includes one row of data per officer and subject interaction when force was used. For a visual representation of how force instances are categorized and counted please refer to the infographic on the first tab of the dashboard. Users may want to view additional data points associated with use of force instances, so the PPB has made these fields available. Instructions for downloading the open data are included at the top of the “Download Open Data” tab.