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IMPD prepares for new high-tech system with potential to anticipate crime

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- After false starts, millions of wasted taxpayer dollars, a vendor’s financial implosion and broken promises, IMPD may finally be on the verge of launching a data technology system that will help officers protect city neighborhoods.

IMPD top brass was introduced to CommandCentral, a data sharing system from Motorola that will integrate real-time information, archival reports and surveillance camera video to provide officers and their commanders with immediate intelligence for crisis response and strategic planning to practice anticipatory policing to quell or head off trouble on the streets.

“It looks at what’s occurring right now and enables us to grab information from several different silos that we have now put it all in one place and it maps that so our officers have a good picture of what that is,” said IMPD Chief Bryan Roach at an introductory session with commanders at the Regional Operations Center.

Roach recently returned from Califnornia, where he studied the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) utilization of data-led policing.

“It was a trip that reaffirmed that we are in the right direction but it was also a trip that showed just how much this type of technology can impact areas,” said Roach. “One district that I thought was ten square miles and it had, I think, 142 homicides in that area and they had 12 last year.”

The system draws information from across several data banks and technology as officers respond to a call.

“A run comes out to that area,” said Roach. “It identifies where the camera is. You’re able to pull that up, see that real time, give that information to that officer as he is responding. Now you see that car leave. Now you see those actions.”

Roach expects the system will also help commanders develop strategies for dealing with chronic or recurring crimes.

“It pulls all that information together already and then it starts showing, ‘This is where you should be looking or these are the crimes that occurred in this specific spot and there’s more of those than there are in this other spot.’”

With the new system, IMPD would be able to share information with other agencies, such as local school districts with their own records, data or video systems.

Tyrone Humphrey of Indy Heartbeat, a joint effort dedicated to reducing youth violence, could foresee IMPD addressing neighborhood complaints with its IPS partners to stem school-related problems.

“We recognize that in today’s society it is driven by technology,” said Humphrey. “Truancy youth that are not in school but yet are utilizing potentially a vacant property that one could be criminal and also a nuisance in the community as well that could rise as a potential problem not only for that community but for the youth that are involved with that.

“That ultimately speaks to what the Indy Heartbeat initiative is: A preventative measure of trying to get ahead. Utilizing data to the best of our knowledge to respond to the needs of the community but to also put together a very comprehensive and strategic plan to eliminate possible opportunities for our youth and young adults find themselves involved with the law in a negative way.”

Elements of IMPD’s enhanced technology system will gradually begin rolling out this spring with a new computer aided dispatch system coming on-line in early 2019.