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New Des Moines, IA police chief wants to focus on technology

A veteran of the Des Moines, Iowa police force has been named the interim chief for the department, and he has both a background and interest in improving police technology. Maj. Douglas B. Harvey took the position at the end of September, according to The Associated Press, bringing 37 years of experience in crime control in the local area to the office. Harvey will remain in the position as city officials conduct a search for a long-term replacement for former Chief Judy Bradshaw, who recently retired. That task is expected to take several months, meaning Harvey will have time to oversee some projects for the department.

A dedication to improving effectiveness
Chief Harvey has a history of being involved with major technological innovations within the department, The Associated Press pointed out. He had recently completed a project at the main police precinct that involved a workspace for the department's crime scene analyst team and a state-of-the-art forensics lab. The total value of those improvements was $2.3 million, a significant investment. The Des Moines Register reported Chief Harvey will focus on additional improvements during his tenure, especially as he doesn't plan any major changes to other areas of the force's operation. Retired Chief Bradshaw had said future leaders of the department would have to focus on new technology as a way to improve policing efforts and boost the effectiveness of officers.

Increasing connectivity
Chief Harvey has already expressed support for improving patrol car technology, especially as it relates to filing documents while on the road. Current limitations of the system used in Des Moines require officers to connect to a mobile hotspot to upload reports and other documents to central police department servers. Improvements proposed by Chief Harvey would allow officers on patrol to send in electronic reports throughout the city, enhancing both connectivity and responsiveness.

New forensics
Along with improvements to squad cars, Chief Harvey will also help administer a $160,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to improve the effectiveness of forensics technology in the department. Although specifics weren't available, the overall goal of the developments made possible by the grant money is to increase self-sufficiency. Once the developments occur, the Des Moines Police Department will be able to conduct more analysis without outsourcing the work.


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