Shawnee Fire Department to launch online dashboard in push for transparency

Shawnee Fire Department
Sal Scarpa, deputy chief of the Shawnee Fire Department, presented updates Oct. 29 on the department’s five-year strategic plan.

In the name of transparency, the Shawnee Fire Department is launching an online platform for residents to see exactly what local firefighters are up to.

Now that the Shawnee Fire Department is halfway through its 2016-2021 strategic plan, feedback from the public has been abundantly clear: Residents want more transparency.

Sal Scarpa, deputy fire chief, said the push for transparency is a direct response to the department’s last collection of public input in 2015, which led to development of the online dashboard.

“We’re not very good at telling our story,” he said. “They wanted to know more. And so this next piece that we’re going to do on the dashboard is a direct response to that.

“We’re hoping that our dashboard provides them a good deal of information about what your department’s doing: Performance measures, response times, number of calls, types of calls. All those types of things will be out there.”

Scarpa said the department staff expects to launch the dashboard sometime during the first quarter of 2019.

The online dashboard will be free to access, open to the public, located on the city’s website and updated monthly. Scarpa gave public presentations Oct. 29 on the strategic plan and showed local residents and city leaders a sneak peek at what the dashboard will look like.

Here’s a sneak peek from the presentation:

SFD online dashboard

“We wanted to reach back into the community to give them an update on what we’ve done so far and our progress towards our goals and then get feedback on the direction that we’re going,” Scarpa said.

Fire department staff are planning to incorporate public input from the Oct. 29 meetings into its short-term plans for the remainder of the five-year strategic plan, Scarpa added.

“It’s pretty straightforward: We want to give the community an opportunity to have input into our planning process,” he said. “We want to be completely transparent with all of the efforts that we’re undertaking.”

The seven goals of the five-year strategic plan can be found on the city’s website. As of Oct. 29, the fire department has completed two of its seven strategic goals, while the rest are in progress. About 54 percent of the strategic plan is complete, while 15 percent is in process and the remaining 31 percent has not been started.