In Chicago, all Calls for Service data is controlled by the Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC). Dispatch operations—the reception of 911 calls for service and the dispatch of police to respond to calls—is managed by OEMC.

The City of Chicago releases no Calls for Service data in bulk format.

There are many municipalities that publish live or near-live listing of dispatch records for police. There are a number of common elements, including date/time, a unique ID, an address (with a level of specifity going from the block level to the exact address), and a call type. There is often a field for current status or ultimate disposition of the call, including perhaps the source of the call (for instance, whether it was phoned in or if was police-initiated. Often they indicate a geographic area for the call (district, beat, etc.)

Data Inventory

This is a list of the information that's collected by the OEMC for any caller. The inventory is divided into three categories:

  1. Data readily available,
  2. Data available through a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, and
  3. Data that is collected but not available.

Open Data

The City of Chicago does not publish this data set on the portal at this time.

FOIA Accessible Data

  • Police District
  • Police Event Type
  • Priority (Response priority for police to respond)
  • Event # (automatically generated)
  • Date
  • Cross Street
  • Location Remarks (more specific remarks like front of biuilding, or in alley)
  • Best of Occurrence
  • Anonymous? (caller want to remain anonymous)
  • Source (the source of call for service)
  • License State Field
  • License Type Field
  • FAOW (are fire services responding)
  • Actions (Specific actions beyond basic event entry)
  • Remarks (any other additional details relevant to event)
  • Disposition (if no dispatch is required, the final disposition of event)
  • District (district of occurrence)
  • Service Beat (Police bear where the locaiton of service is located)

Unavailable Data

  • Complainant Name
  • Phone
  • Complainant Addrress
  • Address of Occurrence
  • S911 Display Area (automcatically generated location of call data based)
  • Apartment #
  • Location of Service (where police resources will be sent if different from caller location)
  • Floor (what floor service will be sent)
  • License Plate Field
  • DOC?HOT (If location in DOC area, the box will read "HOTSPOT")

How to Access Calls for Service Data in Chicago

The Chicago Justice Project has successfully requested this dataset from the OEMC for the years 2008-2012. They release it in cleaned spreadsheet format on their website.

Currently, the only way to access additional data from the OEMC is to file a request for data under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You will need to send an email including: (1) your name and contact information, along with (2) a description of the records you are requesting. Please try to be reasonably specific for the data you are looking for so that they can more easily process your request.

National Models for Releasing Justice Data

Dallas Police Department (Texas)

The Dallas Police Department releases calls for police service data in the most robust fashion in the nation. The data release stands out because it identifies the units responding to each event, a link to map that will display the block from where the call originated, and the status of the call, among other included data fields. While this is far beyond the level of transparency in Chicago users cannot download the data and certain types of calls for service are not displayed due to privacy concerns.

Other Models

This project is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative's Civic Works Project, a program funded by the Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to spur support civic innovation in Chicago.

Our partners for this project are Chicago Justice Project, a nonprofit research organization, and FreeGeek Chicago's Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew (SC3). You can find the code backing this website on Github. We used the Chicago Tribune's Tarbell content management system to build our site. Content and code is under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence.