NOPD lets 'hackers' get a crack at data

Operation Spark

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Teen hackers got their hands on some pre-release NOPD data Tuesday as part of a three-day Hack-A-Thon sponsored by Operation Spark.

The program helped educate students from 15 to 24 about computer coding using statistics and data from the New Orleans Police Department, including 911 calls, use-of-force incidents and field interviews.

"I don't want to call them hackers, but I believe it's a good program to partner with our youth and again to break down those barriers, those stereotypes we have with one another, and to give them an opportunity to see what life is like in the workforce," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

One of the youngest coders at the event, Grace Clark, was excited to get a crack at programming and creating an app to compile police data.

"It kind of gives insight on the city for the citizens who live here because that's really important that you know what's going on in your city," Clark said.

Clark, as well as nearly two dozen other students, got real-world experience that can convert to real-world jobs in the future.

"There's always gonna be a job open in technology, and for me to have these skills now - and I'm obviously going to keep learning more as I go - I can get a job straight out of high school doing something and funding myself through college with this kind of thing," Clark said.

The NOPD is expected to release the completed data once it's completed.

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