The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida, US, is embracing technology and data to help enable greater transparency, accountability and public trust.
The department has recently launched two new solutions – both of which are powered by the Microsoft cloud.
The first is VIEVU body worn-cameras for officers. According to Juan J. Perez, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, body-worn cameras have become ‘the new norm in policing’.
“Citizens now expect video documentation of most situations where police officers are involved, and body cameras help maintain an objective level of transparency that benefits the officers, suspects, witnesses and victims in a potential crime situation,” he said.
A police officer’s body-worn camera can create between one and six gigabytes of data per shift. This means having a system in place to store, analyse and manage this data is of vital importance. Miami-Dade turned to the Microsoft Azure Government platform to meet this need.
Footage from cameras is stored in the cloud, enabling officers to capture, analyse and store data efficiently. Information and evidence captured can be used in trials, and officers are noticing changes in citizen behaviour when they realise their actions are being recorded.
The second solution is the Citizens On Patrol (COP) app. This allows citizens to securely and anonymous report tips and crimes that are in progress. This can be done using photos, videos and notes.
Information is then sent to the Miami-Dade Real-Time Crime Center, where it is monitored, collected and analysed by officers. Resources and responses can then be organised and instigated accordingly.
“The COP app is crucial in preventing crime,” said Carmen Caldwell from the Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County. “The police officer cannot be everywhere. A police officer doesn’t know the neighbourhood like a person who lives in the neighbourhood. So the residents become the eyes and ears of law enforcement. And when you get those two working together you can prevent, I would say, 70% of the crime that is happening in the area.”
The app is boosting the department’s relationship with citizens, and more than 2,300 people have downloaded it to date.
“We’re using these solutions to enhance our relationships with the citizens we serve,” says Perez. “Both the COP app and the cloud-based body-worn cameras enable us to engage with people in a more transparent way. They are helping us build trust while also supporting the work we do in preventing and solving crime.”
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