The Detroit Police Department is making major strides to move away from outdated technology and invest in new improvements for officers in the field. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city has plans to spend $38 million on developing police technology, which will involve a fully integrated public safety computer system.
The city's new proposal will help in the recovery process from bankruptcy, and Detroit is planning to spend $150 million through the next decade to make up for the years without investing in new police technology, the source cited.
The new police equipment will range from more precise tax collection methods to real-time data for crime trends, reported Police Magazine. Several officers still fill out police reports on paper and some tax information is filed on index cards in the station, the source reported. Investing in high-tech equipment will reduce costs and errors in the long run and should prove to be a successful return on investment.
Kevyn Orr, emergency manager for Detroit's city government, recently filed a plan for adjustment in bankruptcy court to make significant improvements to city services in efforts to slowly pay off the billions of dollars of debt.
Detroit not the only major city lacking new technology
Charles Moore, the city's reconstructing consultant, told the Detroit Free Press the city heavily investigated and researched the ways the outdated police technology was hurting crime control efforts, and although Detroit lacks new equipment, the city is not alone in neglecting high-tech investments.
"But you'd be hard-pressed to find another municipality of Detroit's size that operates with these sorts of archaic processes and systems," Moore added, according to the source.
The city plans to move to paperless processes for their new case management system, which will now run on a fully integrated system that will include the city's EMS and Fire Department. Moore told the source that officers spend too much time manually writing and completing crime reports, when it should be automated.
"If you think about the amount of time a police officer has to manually put in information, all of that takes away from the amount of time the officer can spend on fighting crime," Moore explained.
Having access to real-time crime control tracking systems will allow officers in the field to make more accurate decisions. According to the source, there are currently 1,150 computers used by the Detroit PD, and only around 300 were less than 3 years old, which is a true sign for the need to invest in new technology.