Where do the good ideas come from?
In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
Franklin Park Police Station Receives LEED Gold Certification
FGM Architects announces that the Franklin Park Police Station has received LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and confirmed by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).
FGM Architects and its consultants worked with the Franklin Park Police Department to achieve certification by implementing sustainable design features to optimize energy performance, reduce water-usage, and incorporate regional materials and recycled content into the project. These sustainable features will reduce costs for the police department and create a healthier environment for the staff and the surrounding community.
The original police station had numerous functional and operational deficiencies. The new 36,700-square foot police station, located on a brownfield site, provides a strong civic presence for the village and assists in anchoring the village’s newly revitalized downtown area. The new police station houses a staff of 43 full-time sworn officers and 26 auxiliary personnel and was designed to serve the department’s needs for the next 50 years.
Sustainable goals were a priority for the project, including energy efficiency and reduction of long-term lifecycle costs achieved through the selection of building systems, the use of local and recycled materials, storm water management, and an education component for the community. The parking lot features permeable pavers, pervious concrete, and bioswales to collect water and reduce storm water runoff. The rainwater from the roof is collected into a cistern and used for irrigation and in the public restroom fixtures to reduce water use. The police department developed an educational component highlighting sustainability and has established tours to further demonstrate the village’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
Natural daylight streams into office areas of the building and occupancy sensors significantly reduce the total energy needed to illuminate the facility. The Franklin Park Police Station is a comfortable and functional work environment for both the officers and visitors of the facility, while setting an example of green living and design for the community.
Just before moving in to the new facility, during a welcoming ceremony, Chief Michael Witz stood before a group of over 300 retired police officers, active police officers, local politicians, and their families and said, “No longer will we hear the famous Chicago Cubs slogan ‘Wait Til Next Year.’”
After moving into the new facility, Chief Witz said, “Since moving into the new facility, a change in attitude was immediately recognized—from officers drinking out of cups with lids to officers coming to work with a sense of pride in their new working conditions. The police department has seen a 68 percent increase in traffic citations being issued, an 11 percent increase in traffic arrests, and a 9 percent increase in total arrests since moving into the new headquarters.”
For more information, visit http://www.fgmarchitects.com.
Mountain View Police Department First to Trial Polaris Wireless Altus Blue Force Tracking Application
Polaris Wireless partnered with the Mountain View, California, Police Department (MVPD) to pilot the company’s Altus blue force tracking application to augment police safety measures at an area concert. Altus was used to locate and track over 20 uniformed and plainclothes police officers during the two-day concert, during which the MVPD conducted approximately 100 arrests. During this pilot deployment, some officers were equipped with department-provided mobile phones, which were monitored using Polaris Wireless Altus from a command post set up on the event grounds.
“In an ongoing effort to ensure the safety of the citizens of Mountain View, we continually seek out industry-leading technology that enables us to do our jobs more safely and efficiently,” said Lieutenant Chris Hsiung of the MVPD. “The power of the Polaris Wireless Altus application to locate officers via mobile devices presents us with many exciting opportunities.”
Altus blue force tracking provides police departments and other law enforcement organizations with the ability to track police and other field officers (such as firefighters and emergency medical services [EMS] technicians), specifically when they are out of reach of their patrol vehicles, which typically contain separate location and tracking capabilities. San Francisco–based Locaid, the world’s largest LaaS (Location-as-a-Service) company, provided the officers’ location information, which was then displayed on the Altus tracking application. As a result, MVPD commanders were able to track officers’ movements during the concert. Altus provides a more efficient and less obvious way of tracking an officer’s location than traditional two-way radio and verbal alerts.
For more information, visit http://www.polariswireless.com.
Chandler Police Department Makes Law Enforcement More Efficient with Splunk
The City of Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, spans 70 square miles. Tasked with ensuring the city’s tranquility, the Chandler Police Department, with 320 officers and 150 civilian employees, serves the city’s 250,000 residents with “respect, fairness, and compassion.”
Previously, the City of Chandler provided IT services to all of its agencies, including the police. A few years ago, however, the police department launched its own technology staff to improve delivery of police-related services and increase security for confidential records, data and processes.
The police department (PD) staff maintains a network that links the main police station and two satellite facilities. To ensure system availability and performance, the department needed to monitor machine-generated logs from its Light-weight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and web servers, and especially its comprehensive records management system (RMS), Versadex. This RMS captures all police processes, investigations, and records. It also stores calls from citizens and police dispatches from the department's computer-aided dispatching system (CAD).
“Chandler’s public safety depends on our RMS and CAD solutions,” says a Chandler police officer, who also handles some of the department’s IT tasks. “Poor performance or failure is intolerable, and we needed a management tool to optimize their functionality."
With its ability to gather, index, and graphically display machine-generated data in dashboards, Splunk proved an effective solution for the Chandler police department. The Splunk platform is now used to collect logs from the RMS, CAD, and servers, allowing administrators to routinely track the health of their system infrastructure. Chandler PD also uses the Splunk app for VMware to monitor virtual machines and their servers in the department’s virtualized environment, allowing staff to maximize utilization and anticipate when a system will be overtaxed.
“Splunk lets us know of a problem prior to someone alerting us to it,” says the system administrator for the Chandler Police Department. “Proactive management is important for any IT department, but it’s essential for maintaining systems vital to public safety.” The department’s RMS system offers a wealth of information, but extracting and presenting data from the solution was complex and its functionalities were limited.
According to the police officer who also performs IT duties, “We found that Splunk can display statistical data from our RMS system. Our first use case was querying the software to identify the kinds of reports officers submitted in a given timeframe. Suddenly, we could perform operational analytics on our entire data trove. With that, Splunk became an indispensable tool for oversight and quality control.”
Splunk also accelerated the department’s access to structured data in the RMS database. Previously, administrators needed to write APIs, a laborious process. Then they discovered the Splunk DB Connect application, which allows Splunk to index structured data. This solution eliminated the costs of programming and enriched data gleaned from machine-generated logs with statistics from the RMS’s database, allowing for deeper analytics and greater insights.
Chandler PD now uses Splunk for a variety of operational analytics. Splunk presents the times when a citizen reports an incident and when officers arrive at the scene, and then calculates response rates across the city. A Splunk dashboard tracks the dates when an incident report was filed and when the incident actually occurred for analysis of the frequency and timing of crimes. Additionally, rather than manually parse email to determine if the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) responded correctly to a query such as a request for an arrest record, Chandler PD staff use Splunk to analyze these communications and graphically present the findings in a dashboard.
Splunk DB Connect makes querying the RMS more informative and user friendly. It uses lookup tables to access employees' names and employee ID numbers, permitting staff to better identify one another as they access reports on the department's intranet. This functionality is particularly useful as employees are offered personalized Splunk dashboards. Officers can easily review the number and kinds of arrest or crime reports they submitted in the past month and sergeants can monitor the performance of their teams.
The department deploys Splunk dashboards to audit compliance with internal policies. The RMS captures messaging from the CAD system and feeds the data to Splunk, which reports inappropriate language between officers as they communicate in their patrol vehicles.
To take its analytics to another level, figuratively and literally, the Chandler Police Department is implementing Google Maps for Splunk, an application that overlays data on maps in dashboards. Employees will be able to geo-locate incident reports on maps of the city to determine, for example, where burglaries are most likely to happen and to analyze response times to emergency calls in various neighborhoods.
Moreover, Splunk enables the department to effectively audit employees’ adherence to procedures and policies. Administrators are also mindful that Splunk can further enhance the department’s security posture. For example, Chandler PD is considering using Splunk to verify compliance with the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), a central repository of law enforcement records. ♦
For more information, visit http://www.splunk.com.