New tech will increase transparency and internal resource deployment, NYPD brass says

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Photo by Todd Maisel

A new user-friendly, interactive web-based dashboard will be available to every New Yorker to increase transparency for the department with its residence, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced Thursday morning.

In addition, officials said a new internal app will allow cops to sign in at the station house using their phones, and then provide real-time knowledge for officers and commanders of individual assignments and what services they are providing at any time.

Commissioner Shea said it took a crisis to push for a speedup in technology as the department struggled between March and June with up to 20 percent of the department out with COVID-19, 34 of those members having died of the contagion – 43 of whom died of coronavirus complications. Then, at the end of May, the department was deployed during the massive demonstrations and sporadic looting, which took huge numbers of officers away from patrol duties.

“It took a crisis for us to push to do even better and so when the pandemic hit, we needed agility of resources,” said Shea, adding that the new app would allow them to move away from paper-based processes to a phone app-based reporting.

The new technology, Shea said, “would contribute to efficiency and precision policing and how to deploy the new technology.”

“The new app would create a new workforce management system, where we could use real-time data to know where cops are at any point and what they are doing – “This is a seismic shift in resource management,” said Shea, adding that the entire app was created in-house and therefore cost the department nothing.

Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Matthew Fraser said the new technology would allow them “real-time force figures,” ability to forecast force figures five years ahead and provide police officer assignments – this would cover even specialized units including strategic response group, special operations including Emergency Services, and investigatory units.

Deputy Commissioner Matt Frasier announced new technology initiatives that will provide more transparency to the NYPD while providing timely crime information. He also said police officers will have a new app that will help commanders with deployment and using resources more wisely. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

For the public, the department is deploying an interactive dashboard with real-time information. As a sample, Fraser showed web pages that have already been posted that show demographics of the department’s 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees and where they are working. The site will also provide crime information – a sample of which was on the number of hate crimes, who they were committed against and where they occurred.

The dashboard will allow the public to use data collected by the department to determine crime risk and allow community groups to act upon upticks in crime and other issues in the community. Shea said the portals are streamlined so “you don’t need to be a technology expert to use it.”

A full interactive NYPD portal and dashboard will not be available however until early 2021. Currently, a beginning dashboard is now available here.

Commissioner Dermot Shea announced new technology initiatives that will provide more transparency to the NYPD, while providing timely crime information.  (Photo by Todd Maisel)

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