a hand holding a police \"stop\" card
Originally implemented by VCU Police in 2019 and now featuring QR codes, stop cards list multiple ways in which community members can easily file complaints or commendations. (Frederick Wiggins, VCU Police)

QR codes are being added to VCU Police stop cards, providing an additional channel for community feedback

When someone receives the card after a traffic stop or lengthy conversation with an officer, they can scan the code and rate the officer in five areas.

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VCU Police are now issuing upgraded “stop cards” with QR codes to solicit feedback about its officers.

When someone receives the card after a traffic stop or a lengthy conversation with an officer, they can immediately scan the QR code with a cellphone and rate the officer in five areas:

  • Does the community member know why the stop was conducted?
  • Did the officer actively listen during the conversation?
  • Does the person believe they were treated fairly during the interaction?
  • Was the officer professional?
  • Does the victim, or survivor, know about potential resources?

There is also a prompt for users to type in written feedback.

“Ensuring that community members can easily access police administrators, for any reason, is extremely important,” said John Venuti, VCU Police chief and associate vice president for public safety. “Great companies solicit feedback as part of ongoing improvement and police departments should be no different.”

Originally implemented in 2019 by Venuti, the cards list multiple ways in which community members can easily file complaints or commendations.

VCU Police policy mandates that officers hand out the cards, which state the department’s commitment to fair and impartial policing.

“For us, this is just the next iteration of showing our community that we take each police interaction seriously,” Venuti said. “It’s best practice for police to make it easy for someone to rate an experience. Guardian Score QR codes facilitate immediate feedback and there’s back-end software in which we can review the results.”

Once community members enter ratings, the results are logged electronically for each officer in real time.

Aligning technology with police reform efforts

In 2021, the university’s independent Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee recommended ways in which VCU Police could be more accountable to the community, which included the enhancement of internal reviews of officers.

“Eventually we will be using this new data as part of each officer’s performance reviews,” Venuti said. “This initiative is also transparent for our officers, as they can view their own ratings, in addition to supervisors and administrators.”

Patrol officer David Kelly has led Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement bystander training to help prevent his peers from making mistakes or violating policies. Kelly said he’s always looking for ways to improve himself and assist other officers in their development.

The QR code feature on the stop cards furthers that intention.

“When I received my cards and started to test the QR feature, I saw huge potential,” Kelly said. “I think this is important, and if used appropriately, can definitely aid in improving all of our interactions.”

Fellow patrol officer Christopher Clark had similar sentiments.

“I believe the stop cards are a great resource for citizens and community members because it allows them to participate in how departments can effectively monitor an officer’s community interactions,” he said. “I believe it’s a great tool, and an accountability mechanism, that officers can use to help them improve in areas both professionally and personally, and as a way to enhance community relations.”

Kelly said the feedback he’s received in the past, positive or negative, has shaped him into the officer he is today.

“If you want to be the best, you have to constantly evolve,” Kelly said. “The game is always changing underfoot; the addition of the QR codes allows us to focus on areas that our customer base feels needs improvement. Criticism, positive or negative, can be an absolute tool for improvement.”