We know that the majority of crimes are committed by a small segment of the community, but sometimes as a police force, we didn't have visibility into what these individuals were doing. In the past, we would share standard written briefing sheets about incidents, but many personal insights were communicated during roll calls, or informal, ad hoc conversations.
We needed a central location to store and share not only written briefing sheets, but also things like surveillance video, subpoena records, activity from Facebook, assault records, and even best practices for how to react in a given situation. And we had to accomplish this cost-effectively, with tools that did not require a lot of training.
As a police detective, I don't have any formal technology background, but with Google Apps, I have been able to help us deploy a new system that enables our officers to access information more effectively. I created a Google Site that allows all police officers to share and control data related to crimes. Our officers can access information, from briefing sheets to assault records, expeditiously and securely – even using mobile terminals in their cars. Today, about 75 officers can log into the shared, secure Google Site and get an update on the previous shift's activities instantaneously.
We have always wanted this information at our fingertips, anytime, anywhere—whether we are going to a break-in or responding to a domestic violence call—and now we have an efficient and effective way to help reduce crime and improve officer safety. As a next step, we're looking toward breaking down jurisdictional walls by sharing information with other cities and universities.