Brandon Crowley

Brandon Crowley
Chief Data Officer
City of Cincinnati, Ohio

Favorite Music

R&B, like Moonchild, esp. All the Joy.


Cincinnati saw a shocking spike in overdoses in 2016. Over the course of a week in August, there were 174 in a city that had averaged 20 to 25 a week. There were another 451 in September. No one in city government fully understood the spike, though overdoses had jumped in recent years due to the availability of heroin and synthetic opioids, such as carfentanil and fentanyl. The city needed a new tactic in its battle.


Officials decided more data could be an answer, and built a tracker to quantify overdose calls, breaking them down by time, day and week. They also looked at general location patterns (anonymizing the data for privacy). The data dispelled stereotypes. For example, the city discovered most overdoses occurred between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., not late at night, and dispatched roving medics with police cruisers at new times. It also provided the data to social service groups to better target overdose hotspots.

Lessons Learned

It’s helpful to partner with community advocates and enlist the help of nonprofit and private groups by giving them easy access to data. Citizens expect the city to protect personal health information, even at the cost of making the tracker more effective.

Brandon’s Background

Raised in Cincinnati, originally dreamed of being a music producer but found his life’s passion in computers at Kentucky State (BS, ’97). He’s been with the city 17 years, starting as a computer programmer and analyst, then managing the city’s website, and now…

Brandon’s Job

…works with a small team to oversee city’s data insights portal and support infrastructure performance with data analytics.

Startling Fact

He’s an ordained minister.

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