During his address before the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in San Diego today, IACP President Terrence Cunningham — who also serves as chief of police in Wellesley, Mass. – offered an apology to minority communities in the U.S., “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”

Chief Cunningham’s remarks were certainly a step beyond what FBI Director James Comey outlined in his remarks yesterday. But in order to close what he described as a “chasm” between law enforcement and the community, Director Comey stated that law enforcement agencies need better access to data.

This was the crux of today’s IACP panel, “Transforming Communities Through Intelligence-Led Policing.”

Cloud computing is changing the way that professionals think of data, particularly as it relates to cost effective solutions, improved access, security and infrastructure. As the panelists noted, the very nature of cloud computing is ideally suited for law enforcement and other emergency first responders.

The panel them discussed the practicality of current AI and voice technology solutions – such as Amazon’s Alexa – that in effect open a world of possibilities for law enforcement officers in the field. The challenge, they added, is to create technologies that are efficient and reliable for the unique, often high-stress workflow inherent in policing.

“Intelligence-led policing is a strategic management philosophy,” Captain Tim Heroff of the Rochester, Minn. Police Department said, “Our mission is to prevent crime.” He was clear to note that technology is a tool to “achieve this mission.”

In Rochester, the police department has made a heavy investment in technology, including public records platforms, app development and more. The department also harnesses and manages data to score offenders in their system so that officers know whom they are about to interact with, which in turn, improves officer safety.

Assistant Chief James White of the Detroit Police Department was clear to note that while officers are traditionally reluctant to embrace technology, “the time is right.”

He said that one of the best ways to incorporate technology is to embrace officers’ talents and welcome new recruits who may be more comfortable with current technology, adding, “we don’t talk people to sleep about technology, we try to bring it to life – what does it mean to use this technology?”

White also described that getting public buy-in of technology has been a key strategy in Detroit, citing the launch of the Green Light Initiative – which is a data-sharing program where businesses in high-risk areas allow the police department access to their security cameras. The success of the program was clear – the city saw a 60 percent drop in crime, with a number of other businesses looking to join the program.

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