The human element in your data practices

IDEA’s personnel assessment of your current staff’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to align leadership, analytical and technology processes based on strengths and strategic growth areas. 

Analysts for Public Safety

Skilled analysts can assist public safety leadership in strategic decision making about operational resources, crime management, and problem solving. During times of economic instability and other crises, the ability to attract, retain and motivate talented professionals to support your data demands can be difficult. These professionals possess a unique blend of educational and practical skills based in computer science, research methods, critical thinking and social sciences. 

In developing a new analytical unit, or enhancing existing capabilities, ensuring organizational change aligns with your agency’s mission and staff skills is exceedingly important to ensure your officers have vital information and data as soon as possible to operate at their highest level of efficiency. More importantly, knowing the human value in your analysis – not just technology outputs – can provide rich context to your public safety concerns and evidence-based response. IDEA Analytics approach to personnel assessment enables agencies to reorganize, enhance and build capacity for your future. 

Our Approach

IDEA Analytics has worked with police, sheriff and probation agencies over the last 15 years to evaluate resources, develop organizational change models, and implement training, leadership and processes to develop sustainable and equitable data processes. Ultimately, paired with IDEA’s operational personnel resource assessment and recommendations for the implementation of changes or adjustments, a department’s strategy and staffing decisions affect its overall efficacy. With the insights provided, this assessment offers guidance to the chief and city officials to determine the best and most efficient use of police department resources to ensure departmental goals come to fruition.

IDEA uses a variety of methods to capture the current state of analytical processes, knowledge, skills and abilities.

  • Semi-structured interviews explore agency-specific expectations and processes, identify gaps and provide in-depth knowledge about expectations, outputs and outcomes.
  • Survey tools analyst’s knowledge, analytical capabilities, and skills to identify strengths, job task analysis, and opportunities for improvement. 
  • Examination of job requirements and other employment documentation from the agency, and national resources, to determine opportunities for restructuring and organizational change.
  • Review of analytical outputs indicate both skills and analytical expectations established by the department.
  • Policy and operational procedures are evaluated for indoctrinated standards and compared to national models. 

Analytical capacity is not just the job of analysts — there are many stakeholders that support data development, management and reporting. IDEA Analytics facilitates one-on-one and group sessions with leadership, analysts, technology staff and other stakeholders to engage personnel responsible for data collection, processing and analysis.  


We work with agency leadership across divisions to revise or develop analytical expectations, focusing on performance metrics and outcomes. These sessions explore your team’s awareness of what effective analysis can provide for their operations and how to plan your resources for maximum impact. 

The Storyteller and Thinker

Artwork: Rebecca Tombaugh

Common Challenges

As data science programs and skill sets are in demand, public safety agencies have been able to recruit personnel with advanced educational degrees, business sector experience, and military intelligence skills. This leads to dynamic influences in public safety to improve data processes and the use of technology. The blend of these industries and skills within an agency can support and conflict with crime reduction approaches – making leadership critical in setting the path forward. 

Our strategic sessions with past clients have found that teams are ready and willing to have actionable information, but are often unsure of what to expect or how to measure their progress. The balance of monitoring performance and having evidence-based results often frustrate staff, leaving ultimate mission goals for crime reduction unclear. Since analysts are a critical stakeholder in supporting an agency’s efforts toward crime reduction, our interviews and other assessment tools evaluate their time, tasks and production of information. 

 We commonly find that analyst personnel spend nearly all of their time performing non-analytical tasks, such as data cleaning and individual case support. These tasks are often dictated by cases and crisis incidents, often leaving the analyst unable to perform analysis to develop crime patterns, identify problems and effectively inform police leaders on crime reduction solutions. 

How much of your week is spent on data cleaning?
46%
How much of your week is spent on specific case research?
50%
How much of your week is spent on self-initiated analysis?
0.2%

Resolved through Strategic Solutions

IDEA takes the insights learned during the assessment to provide a strategic plan detailing short- and long-term goals for agency leaders to consider. Our plan provides leaders with specific and achievable recommendations and/or training to support the process of refining and enhancing their agency goals, approaches, and focus in data-driven policing.

Potential solutions:

  • Positioning analysts within the organization to enhance their crime analysis and intelligence capabilities, leading to more proactive deployment and utilization of officers into field assignments and problem solving efforts
  • Educating and training leadership and officers in differences between crime analysis and performance management data
  • Enhancing the agency’s data management and technology resources
  • Realigning talents of staff (sworn and civilian) to perform more efficiently as part of a team as well as increase retention of their positions

IDEA Analytics works with clients to ensure long-term objectives are met through existing resources, or assists planning for your future resources. 

Ready to Align your Resources?