Can IT Help LAPD Reduce Abuse?

The Los Angeles Police Department, under orders from a federal court, is rolling out a series of applications to automate the systems it uses to track its 13,000 officers and other personnel. The $35 million Teams II system (Training, Evaluation and Management) came about as the result of a Justice Department investigation into alleged abuse and misconduct at the LAPD that predates the 1991 Rodney King beating. The system will track everything from hours worked to complaints against officers and reports on use of force, and can generate messages up the chain of command based on any unusual behavior patterns the software might spot. This has led to some complaints that it will inhibit officers from doing their jobs, though the use of similar systems in New Orleans, and in Miami–Dade County, has coincided with reduced numbers of complaints against police in those cities.

Deputy Chief David Doan, a three-decade veteran of the department who, in the past, served as its top risk-management officer, sees some practical advantages to the big system forced upon him. “Some of this is stuff we have wanted to do for some time, but didn’t have the money or the resources to attempt,” he says. Teams II includes a time-tracking application, along with the workflow and complaint management systems. The first applications started rolling out this summer, and the project is scheduled to be in department-wide use by early next year. Doan worked closely with BearingPoint Inc. and Sierra Systems Group Inc. through the development process, as the Web-based applications represent a step forward from its existing mainframe-based systems.

So far, so good, with some minor delays. Up next for rollout is the controversial risk-management system—the part that analyzes behavior patterns—which is scheduled to begin deployment this fall. “That’s the one the court really wants,” says Doan. “The pieces that are coming in now are not very threatening. When we turn on the risk-management system, we’ll find out what kind of resistance to this we really have.”

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