Miami-Dade County Embraces Technology to Build Community and Make Policing More Transparent
Across the country, police departments and the citizens they serve are looking for better ways to communicate and work together, and many of those departments — including Miami-Dade, the largest police department in the southeastern United States — are turning to technology to build stronger relationships. In fact, last year, President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the White House Police Data Initiative called on law enforcement to better use data and technology to accelerate progress around transparency, accountability and public trust.
Miami-Dade was ahead of this curve. Driven by a desire to foster trust with its diverse community, the police department embarked on an ambitious initiative to transform its operations. It launched two new solutions: VIEVU body-worn cameras for officers, and a new Community on Patrol (COP) app, both powered by cloud technology from Microsoft. By collecting tips from citizens, and providing better documentation of interactions and evidence that might later lead to convictions, these solutions help the police department better engage with the public, and secure the community.
Cops, cameras and the cloud: Building trust and transparency
“Body-worn cameras have become the new norm in policing,” says Juan J. Perez, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. “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.”
But a camera worn by a police officer generates between 1 and 6 gigabytes of data per shift, per day, and that requires a significant amount of storage and a secure method of accessing, analyzing and managing the data after it’s been captured. Handling this much information can be a challenge for police departments with limited personnel and IT resources — and that’s where cloud technology comes in.
“We wanted to be at the forefront of technology to be able to capture evidence that couldn’t be gleaned another way,” says Perez. “But we also knew we needed to approach the implementation of body-worn cameras thoughtfully to ensure the most positive impact for everyone involved.”