In March 2023, following a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred on February 14, the West Sacramento Police Department shared the footage from the body-worn cameras and the drone footage of the event. Rob Strange, West Sacramento Police Chief, sought to closely monitor the public response to the footage and to address any misinformation or concerns generated by the incident or the police’s handling of the tragic situation.
The Zencity Solution
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the West Sacramento PD created a customized Zencity dashboard to collect all discourse surrounding the incident. In doing so, the Chief’s team was able to track the reactions over time as the details of the event were being shared and discussed on social media and by news outlets.
When the footage was released, about a month and a half after the incident itself, the PD returned to Zencity to monitor how discourse and sentiment were affected by the newly released videos and the messaging around it. By this time, news coverage was limited, and Zencity was one of the only available tools with which to get a sense of how the community was reacting.
Chief Strange: “I saw the spike in discourse immediately after the incident, then nothing over time. The video release generated a much smaller spike than the initial incident. It was nice to be able to see that there isn’t something that is going to come land on our doorstep as a result of this. Even now we have the ability to look at the data and go, okay, is there any chatter that is starting? Is there anything we should be responding to or be aware of?”
Using the Zencity dashboard to monitor how the PD’s messaging was being received gave the Police Chief the certainty that he was in the know about any lingering or emerging misconceptions or concerns related to the department’s handling of the event – both in its immediate aftermath and, crucially, in the weeks that followed. The confidence that any renewed discourse or a spike in negative sentiment would be captured on the dashboard, gave the Chief peace of mind that he would not be missing critical issues that may arise as a result of the footage or future developments.
“Using the Zencity tools, we had a pretty good sense that what we had done in response to the incident and what we had shared so far, as the news coverage faded, seemed to land sufficiently. The ability to monitor the discourse daily is great because otherwise, you are just guessing, and good police work has to be based on knowledge.”
Chief of Police, West Sacramento Police Department