Process Improvement Abstracts
Policing with Purpose
Agency: Canton Township (Michigan) Police Department
Year: 2014 Finalist
Contact: Sergeant Michael Kennedy - michael.kennedy [at] canton-mi.org
While already ranked as the 33rd safest community for its demographic in the nation, this department set out to make Canton the safest community in the country in just 5 years. The goal was to reduce part 1 crimes by 40 percent. Several unique management philosophies and tools are used, including CompStat, CrimeView ® Dashboard, action plan policing and outreach initiatives, such as Coffee with a Cop. This approach allows the department to continually identify, monitor and combat crime as it occurs. A critical failure in the past was being a step behind with respect to criminal activity. Two fairly simple actions corrected this problem: 1) a method to accurately and efficiently share information, and 2) weekly CompStat meetings. In the first year of implementation, part 1 crimes dropped by 13.9 percent and have continued to fall in the following years. The program allows the department to operate more effectively and with better results, utilizing fewer officers with a lower cost to the taxpayers.
Police Analytics Project
Agency: Halton (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) Police Service
Year: 2015 Semifinalist
Contact: Superintendent Nishan Duraiappah - nishan.duraiappah [at] haltonpolice.ca
Not only is Halton the fastest growing regional municipality in Canada, it was also named the country’s safest community for several years. However, rapid urban growth brought with it dramatic problems, including a stark increase in police calls for service. Based on an extensive review of historic solutions, this agency sought a new approach through the use of technology to enhance crime prevention, clearance and officer safety. A team of scientists and innovative officers were tasked to exploit corporate data to creatively respond to four main areas: 1) strains on police resource deployment, 2) increasing front line officer availability time, 3) early identification of people at risk, and 4) change the police culture to evidence based decision making. This unit is the first of its kind in Canada. Among other accomplishments, an exhaustive data warehouse was established, a new method of resource deployment was implemented for peak policing time and a risk-matrix tool was developed. All of which was supported by analysis.
Agency: Henrico County (Virginia) Police Division
Year: 2015 Semifinalist
Contact: Captain Mike Palkovics - pal [at] henrico.us
This division formed a workgroup to develop and implement a new brand of policing focused on communications and timely intelligence while enhancing crime prevention, clearance and officer safety. The TEMPO Dashboard is a portal linking the full suite of the division’s computer applications from one program. Data from computer aided dispatch, GIS, operational programs, warrant databases and other sources is combined with mapping technology. Officers in vehicles can look at the home screen on the dashboard and have access to all these databases as well as pictures of most wanted persons, officer safety bulletins and other information in real time. The project also provides a forum for enhanced communications so officers can accurately share information easier and faster between zones, stations or countywide. Officers have the ability to better analyze, understand, track and address crime and quality of life issues. For 2014, the crime rate was 26.57 per 1,000 residents, the lowest rate since the division started tracking it.
Alaka'i Akamai Maka'i (Intelligence Led Policing)
Agency: Honolulu (Hawaii) Police Department
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Lieutenant David Brown - dbarnett [at] honolulu.gov
Up against increasingly sophisticated and creative criminals, this department determined conventional policing practices were not working and started the Crime Analysis Unit. The unit specifically targets the most prolific property crimes on the island. This new approach to intelligence led policing identifies the dates, times and locations where officers will be able to actually arrest a suspect rather than just make the individual uncomfortable by the police presence. New technologies, including automated license plate readers, facial recognition, and forensic video/photo recovery and enhancement, are instrumental in the program’s effectiveness. Staffing of the unit is a combination of police officers and civilian personnel. Cooperation among the department, federal agencies and other groups has been invaluable. These efforts have led to an 18 percent decrease in robberies and a 12 percent decrease in residential burglaries since implementation.
PIPE (Process Improvement, Prevention and Enforcement)
Agency: Los Angeles (California) Police Department
Year: 2015 Finalist
Contact: Lieutenant II Andrea Grossman - 30231 [at] lapd.lacity.org
This department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit received 1,185 investigations in 2014 compared to 243 in 2008. This unit vigorously assessed the situation and developed a state-of-the-art two-prong approach to ensure greater success in arresting predators. The new approach significantly increased the effectiveness of Internet law enforcement activities through prevention outreach and investigative process. Prevention consists of Internet safety education and smart media exploitation; and educational presentations are designed for grade school and middle school children, high school teenagers and adult guardians. The process reduces the time and investigative resources that are required from the point of a residential search warrant service to case filing. The confession rate has improved 90 percent by providing witnesses with a comfortable environment for discussing these highly sensitive situations. The unit works in close coordination with other police and interagency groups to communicate within communities.
Regional Automated Property Information Database (RAPID)
Agency: Maryland State Police
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Captain Adam Stachurski - adam.stachurski [at] maryland.gov
This program originated as a law enforcement tool to assist officers in identifying and solving property crimes. Since its creation, the program has developed into a premier database and crime-fighting tool within the state and has contributed to thousands of investigative successes. Program modifications enable administrators to organize and sort by store type, transaction count or transaction detail, such as zip code, city and property type. Investigators can query RAPID, enable email notifications and search eBay for stolen equipment equipped with Lojack. The RAPID unit continues to be the primary oversight agency of the program and utilizes the tool to aid a wide variety of crime victims, recover stolen property and foster collaborative partnerships to maximize results. Since statistical data has been collected, there has been more than $18 million in recovered property, 5,980 cases closed and 3,924 arrests.
SIU Case & Management System (SCaMS)
Agency: Office of Insurance Commissioner (Washington) - Special Investigations Unit
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Director Mark Couey - markc [at] oic.wa.gov
This unit receives approximately 200 requests for investigation each month from private companies, government agencies and citizens. Hampering this effort, information tracking, storage and reporting was handled in a disjointed, inefficient manner. This improvement project was initiated to consolidate five different electronic and manual systems within the agency. Subsequent to stakeholder meetings, regular sessions with the agency’s Information Services, and follow-up testing and training, a new, single-point service system was launched to ensure investigations are managed, stored and relayed efficiently. Additional benefits include individual performance measure reporting and eventual connectivity to other law enforcement systems. The system is inexpensive, straightforward and has exceeded expectations. Quantifiable savings in time and money have been produced. SCaMS has been embraced by all staff and has an ease of usability that could easily be replicated by other law enforcement agencies.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Scene Mapping Program
Agency: Ontario Provincial (Aurora, Ontario, Canada) Police
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Sergeant Brad Muir - brad.muir [at] ontario.ca
The police helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft was historically used to capture overhead views of collision investigations. The helicopter cost hundreds of dollars an hour to fuel, fly, staff and maintain. A team leader in the Traffic Support Unit initiated and led the research, development and training of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), considered the next generation tool for scene mapping for collision investigation. Controls are tablet driven, and an auto-grid system sets up an automated flight plan to fly a grid over the collision scene. On the ground tasks can be completed while aerial mapping is conducted. Images are high resolution and are stitched together using specialized software to produce a photo map. This agency is the only police service currently using this technology. The UAV has proven to be a sustainable, ongoing approach that enhances all aspects of collision investigation – and the annual operating cost is just several hundred dollars.
Body-Worn Camera Program
Agency: Rialto (California) Police Department
Year: 2014 Winner
Contact: Chief Tony Farrar - tfarrar [at] rialtopd.com
This partnership-based, yearlong study evaluated the effects of body-worn video cameras on police use-of-force and officer complaints. The randomized controlled trial represents the first experimental evaluation of body-worn video cameras used in police patrol practices. Frontline officers participated in the experiment and wore HD cameras. All data from the cameras were collated using a web-based computerized video management system. Comparing similar 12-month time frames, the study revealed significant reductions: Use of force incidents were reduced by 87.5 percent and complaints were reduced by 59 percent. Additionally, public contacts by officers increased by 3,200. Analysis of a second year of data showed little change to the experimental year results. This scientific approach to dealing with police misconduct introduces the concept of testing and evaluating new initiatives.
Computer Cyber Crime (C3) Initiative
Agency: Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Police Service
Year: 2015 Semifinalist
Contact: Superintendent Kathryn Martin - kathryn.martin [at] torontopolice.on.ca
This team took on the challenge of leveraging cyber-technology and innovation to improve operational and investigative police techniques. In its first year, the team assisted in 1,017 cases to frontline members, investigative teams and external law enforcement partners. A new intake system was built on a Sharepoint platform to capture all incoming requests and track key statistics. The return on investment was so significant that C3 became a permanent investigative section. Members conduct extensive research into technological innovation to improve the quality of policing, particularly regarding enhancing intelligence and investigative capacities. Its innovative approaches have operational, tactical and investigative impacts. C3 assisted on a yearlong Guns and Gangs project that resulted in the arrest of 53 people. The team has widely shared their knowledge and experiences with other police agencies and stakeholders internationally in navigating online spaces which do not have jurisdictional boundaries.