When did you realize there was a tech-based approach to community policing?
First, some background. I’ve built expertise in implementation science, which is all about how to get research-based knowledge into practical applications. I also come from a background that believes data is power. Evaluation is power, and it should be shared with those that are most directly impacted.
But when entering into community policing, it's difficult to measure outcomes. For example, how do you prevent problems and measure the fact that you prevented them? But even deeper than that, people often misinterpret what community policing is. They think it's about handing out ice cream cones or just coffee with a cop. Those things aren't bad, but that’s only part of it.
It’s actually about consistent, proactive engagement, and thinking more critically about the partnerships police departments have with their community. It’s recognizing that public safety is guided by many different stakeholder groups that contribute to preventing crime and addressing the root causes.
Research shows promising outcomes from community policing, but not many departments are doing it well. Hard data is very limited and not easily accessible. So, the vision I’ve had for years now is how to make this data more easily accessible and usable. The app is the mechanism for doing that.
Many would-be entrepreneurs struggle to connect research to real-world applications. Can you explain “application science”?
I'll never forget, shortly after Greg was killed, I was invited to speak on the Charleston Forum, which was held in memory of the Emmanuel Nine tragedy. One of my classmates was in the audience and said, “Kassy, you did a good job but you really didn't embrace your training and your academic background, which actually have a lot to contribute to this space.” That really stuck with me.
Another time, I asked an officer who had taught at the criminal justice academy what tools she felt would be most valuable to departments to help bridge divides. She responded, “Well, what skills do you have?”