The Connected Officer: Data-Driven Policing

Written by KOVA Corp

It comes down to the “capacity question.” U.S. police forces are routinely confronted with crime that they lack the capacity—that is, the on-the-ground manpower—to successfully contend with.

An officer, after all, can only be in one place at once, and traditionally, has been forced to rely primarily on his or her personal training, field experience, and limited communication resources to make sense of the situation and be in the right place at the right time with the right backup.

Increasingly, however, the capacity question is being answered through a new kind of officer: the “connected” officer of the technology-augmented, digital age.

The connected officer is an emergent phenomenon of predictive policing - policing that relies on technologically augmented, data-driven interconnectivity between manpower, crime data, gang data, personal data, environmental data, locational data, and an expanding meshworks of sensor and surveillance sources.

The connected officer is no longer an island among a sea of other officers and dispatch personnel. Rather, the connected officer is a “smart” node amongst a “smart” network of devices and data that collect, store, sift, sort, and analyze a volume of digital clues so complex that without this advanced technology, it would be impossible for even the largest and most well-trained police force to make sense of or manage.

These leading-edge devices and their data-driven, technical applications include license plate recognition, “wearables,” embedded sensors, drone-collected aerial imagery, digital fingerprint scanning, and data-capturing apps.

This technology makes it possible for police forces to accurately predict when and where crimes will occur, what their nature will be, who will be most likely to perpetrate them, and how officers can be optimally deployed.

For example, connected officers are relying on daily “crime forecasts:” digital maps that are alight with red areas of algorithmically generated (and uncannily accurate) predictions of criminal activity.

These forecasts are the results of years of collected data that has been crunched by A.I. to precisely identify “hot spots” of potential crime that connected officers are priority-routed to during their shifts. The idea is to head crime off at the pass - to arrive on the scene as a deterrent before any criminal activity even occurs.

“Real-time” data is the name of the game in today’s data-driven police force. Facial-recognition software is functioning to connect existing surveillance cameras and biometric databases to identify and flag individuals with outstanding warrants, and Facebook and other social media feeds can be algorithmically assessed for immanent signs of gang warfare or other criminal activity.

Smartphone based apps are key to the data-driven police force and connected officer and are among the leading edge of digital tools used in the service of public safety.

SilentPartner, for example, is the only public safety app on the market that works with a smartphone to capture data generated via smartphone us (phone calls, texts, photos, downloads, and so forth), to automatically label this data in order to effectively manage it, and immediately and securely transmit it to an organizational or personal database for future review and analysis.

Rather than a force needing to rely on multiple pieces of cumbersome and expensive field equipment, the SilentPartner system combines the functions of a camera, voice recorder, laptop and cellphone into a single, user-friendly app. With a tap of the touch screen, public safety personnel can instantly label, categorize, store, and securely transmit data directly from the field.

Advanced features of the SilentPartner system include Speech Analytics, which allows software to “listen” to the content of officers’ and safety personnels’ calls to identify automatically reported trends to public safety authorities to help them piece together commonalities between cases that could not otherwise be detected. This is especially useful for detective bureaus that span multiple precincts, because it enables investigators to easily identify related cases. Rough transcription of calls, keyword and phrase searches, and indexing of communications are also options available with SilentPartner.

The technologies of the data-driven police force and connected officer are many and steadily growing and constitute the law enforcement and criminal justice model of the future. To avoid the threat of surveillance overreach, law enforcement objectives must guide the implementation of these powerful technologies, whose capacity for good is guaranteed only by the ethos of the human agencies that rely on them to make their communities safer.

At KOVA, we’re industry leaders in tech-driven public safety enhancements and solutions. Contact us today and see how our products can take you one step further into the future.

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