Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

dimanche 22 février 2004

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is the sole winner of the 2004 Grand CIO Enterprise Value Award for its data warehouse and application suite. In Taking IT to the Street, the magazine writes that Chicago police officers have an immediate access to more than to 200 GB of data and nearly 8.5 million records of arrests and other incidents. It took $45 million and 3 years to the CPD to build this database with the help of Oracle, but the return on investment is huge, with labor savings of $88 million from 2001 through 2003. All this information can and does prevent crime and save lives, but in Police Power Coming Up Behind You, the author reports he is somewhat worried that all these tools could fall into wrong hands.

Here are selected excepts from this long article.

Chicago's pursuit of IT value has been methodical and tenacious. Obtaining and maintaining funding, overcoming user resistance and laboring through drawn-out training sessions have been a continuous struggle. With nothing available to buy that met its vision, Chicago needed to partner with database giant Oracle. Three years and $40 million later, 50 percent of the original vision and applications have been implemented. But even at the half-way point, the CPD has proven to the city, county, state and beyond that IT can work in big city policing and does reduce crime.
For those reasons, the Chicago Police Department is this year's sole recipient of CIO's top enterprise value distinction -- the Grand CIO Enterprise Value Award. "Enterprise value in its highest form is the opportunity for IT to transform a business, to bring a whole new model into existence," says Rebecca R. Rhoads, CIO of Raytheon and an Enterprise Value Awards judge. "The Chicago Police Department totally changed the game."

The CPD and Oracle built the CLEAR (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) database, deployed in April 2000, now topping 200 GB, and used by 13,600 officers. CLEAR contains such things as arrest reports or criminal activity by district, beat, street and address. The use of CLEAR led to very good results -- providing you're not a criminal.

The national crime rate rose 2 percent from 2000 to 2001, after a decade-long decline, according to FBI reports. But crime in the Windy City has continued to fall. In fact, in the past three years -- the period CLEAR has been operating -- Chicago rates have dropped 16 percent.
Chicago is also solving crimes and closing cases at a higher rate across the board. The percent of 2003 sexual assault cases solved through the first quarter is more than 69 percent, up from 43 percent in 2001, and the rate for solving aggravated assaults is up 13 percent from 2001.

Besides a better efficiency to fight crime, the use of CLEAR also boosted officers' productivity. For instance, checking offenders' prison status and release dates used to take about 30 minutes. This is down to one minute now.

Overall, the department estimates that these efficiencies have given it the equivalent of 1.2 officers for every one it had prior to CLEAR. Labor savings total 193 full-time equivalents, including $5.3 million in overtime pay reductions. Productivity gains allowed the elimination of 345 clerical positions. Most important, 90 once-deskbound officers have been redeployed to the streets.
All told, the department estimates labor savings of $88 million from 2001 through 2003, more than offsetting the $40 million investment in CLEAR.

So what's next? Why is this happening in Chicago and not in your town? It's a question of time -- and money.

Despite its slow, methodical rollout, there's little chance that CLEAR will stall, especially given the growing tendency of other law enforcement agencies to query and add data to it. Susan Hartnett, research associate for Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, says this extra-agency integration has been CLEAR's most notable success. In March 2003, 175 municipalities were hooked into CLEAR. By the fall, the number had jumped to 225. "It's growing faster than they expected," Hartnett says.
Federal interest is growing too. The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Drug Enforcement Administration are all tapping into CLEAR. Oracle, which has worked with Chicago to demonstrate the system nationally, is seeing momentum building around a national model.

I'll leave the conclusion to the author, who writes, "I'm making no judgment, but Attorney General John Ashcroft's FBI is already accessing Chicago's database."

Source: Rick Pastore, Deputy Editor, CIO Magazine, February 15, 2004 Issue

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