Denver is betting millions of dollars that new laptops in patrol cars and a cutting-edge records-management database will speed the police department into 21st century crime-fighting, helping them quickly spot trends and identify faceless serial criminals, reports the Rocky Mountain News. The police department’s current computer system is more than a decade behind other agencies, handcuffing patrol officers and detectives to an antiquated conglomeration of 1,000 databases that often don’t “talk to each other,” a technology supervisor said.
This has made it difficult for police analysts to cull data to detect crime trends or – until now – made it impossible for detectives to swiftly search thousands of records for a telltale scar or nickname that could help catch, for example, a sexual predator. All this is changing as Mayor John Hickenlooper drives a $6.7 million, three-year initiative to arm police with modern technology. The effort is part of a $22 million program – 80 percent of which is funded by federal grants and cellular phone fees (which are mandated to modernize 911 services) – dramatically upgrading Denver police, fire, jail and traffic-monitoring technology.