It’s a brand new year and the Ventura Police Department is kicking it off with a brand new crime fighting tool.
“For us, responding to priority one calls, under five minutes, is a huge priority. We want to be able to do that 90% of the time,” said Sgt. Gerald Foreman of the Ventura Police Department.
The department is able to do that and much more with a new, tailor-made software called the Dashboard and it’s thanks to a partnership with Motorola.
“The last few months of 2013 were spent working with Motorola to build a software that would give us results and crime fighting data that we wanted.”
The software is hooked up the Computer Aided Dispatch systems (CAD). Those are all of the calls that run through the dispatch center that each dispatcher inputs into the system.
The Dashboard is similar to what you would have in your car, with a bunch of informational gauges.
“One of the gauges, on the dashboard, is all the priority one calls we’ve had in the last 24 hours and what our response time was. It tells us how many priority one calls we’ve responded to in less than five minutes, giving us a percentage,” said Sgt. Foreman.
Prior to the software, obtaining the data was a slow process.
“It’s rapid information; it’s not something you have to go to a crime analyst for to run numbers,” he said. “This is information you can get with a click of a button.”
And information was only available once a month.
“Monthly reports broke down all of our priority one calls as well as response times. And then the reports would also break it down telling us why we didn’t get to a call in less than five minutes. This new software doesn’t do that, but it does tell us within the last 24 hours,” said the Sergeant.
Another upside about this tool? A field supervisor can tell where the crime “hot spots” are located.
“As a field supervisor, I can look at priority one incidents or auto burglaries or residential burglaries and it will give me a graph, plot on our city map, where these things were over the last 12 to 48 hours. So I can use this tool to deploy officers to the appropriate areas.”
Before, police officers used pushpins to map crimes in different areas of the city.
Sgt. Foreman says VPD is the only department, in the county, using this type of software and so far, the reviews are pretty good.
“Officers are pretty happy with it. It’s been pretty effective in some cases.”
A forward thinking move by the department’s Chief of Police. Technology not only changes what is possible, but provides a higher expectation among its people.
“In this day and age, technology is going to help police departments so much and this is just one other tool that we have to help us deploy our troops to fight crime and protect our citizens.”