As Microsoft and our partners met with leaders at the Oct. 21-24 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference and Exposition, it became clear that law enforcement officers face many public-safety challenges, including:
- Connecting more closely and ensuring transparency with citizens.
- Developing strategies and solutions that integrate data to drive insights, collaboration and action.
- Leveraging today’s devices—body-worn cameras, drones, robots, holsters, weapons and other kinds of sensors—to capture data in new ways.
We come away from IACP with an even greater commitment to address these issues and enhance public safety through our trusted Azure and Azure Government cloud platforms, and the breadth of cloud-powered law enforcement solutions offered by our partners. We’re humbled by the strong response to our cloud offerings, which serve nearly 10 million government users across more than 7,000 federal, state and local government entities. One of the key criteria for U.S. police departments is compliance with the FBI’s rigorous Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy. To date, we’ve signed CJIS contractual commitments with 33 states, covering two-thirds of the U.S. population and 80 percent of sworn law enforcement officers.
We hosted the Microsoft Public Safety Innovation Theater in our IACP booth, where 25 of our partners presented their law enforcement solutions and successes. Highlights included:
- Safariland announced new capabilities in partnership with Motorola so that when an officer draws a weapon from its holster, a real-time alert is automatically sent to the command center. Its VIEVU subsidiary also announced a partnership with Digital Ally to automatically activate an officer’s body-worn camera when the patrol car’s lightbar is turned on.
- Axon introduced its new Citizen solution that empowers community members to submit evidence directly to law enforcement agencies for crimes under investigation.
- Genetec released Citigraf, a solution that instantly detects and displays relevant information from disparate systems so that first responders can make more effective decisions for situations in progress. The Chicago Police Department has deployed Citgraf in two districts, resulting in a 22-percent drop in shootings.
- Ten8Tech showcased its CaseService solution for citizens to communicate with law enforcement and VictimLink, which revolutionizes sexual assault reporting and connects victims with community resources.
- BlueForce and Yardarm collaborated to share how Yardarm weapon-based sensors connected to the BlueForce Command solution increase officer safety and situational awareness.
Our booth also featured the Microsoft patrol car, a Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) that showcases cutting-edge law enforcement solutions from Microsoft and our partners. We also shared new breakthroughs for law enforcement, including several artificial intelligence solutions, such as an Azure-powered photo-matching system to help stop human trafficking. This AI solution was developed in partnership with Thorn, a nonprofit that drives technology innovation to fight sexual exploitation of children. “Part of our mission at Thorn is to put the best and brightest minds in technology to work on behalf of our most vulnerable children,” said Julie Cordua, CEO of Thorn. “Our partnership with Microsoft delivers on this mission by tapping into leaders in facial recognition and child safety to help find missing and exploited children faster.”
Microsoft IACP sessions
In addition to the solution presentations in our booth, we hosted two formal IACP sessions. Richard Zak, director of Microsoft’s Justice & Public Safety Solutions, shared insights on deploying the cloud for mission-critical law enforcement solutions. He summed up the value of the cloud in serving all law enforcement organizations by saying, “The cloud makes modern, powerful solutions available to even small departments.”
It was a privilege for me to host a panel discussion on using technology to help connect the dots in investigations, improve situational awareness and operational efficiency, and increase citizen engagement. My sincere thanks to four law enforcement leaders for joining in this stimulating session:
- Keith Meadows, chief, College Park (Ga.) Police Department
- Jerald Monahan, chief, Yavapai College Police
- Mary O’Connor, retired assistant chief, Tampa (Fla.) Police Department
- Mike Sena, executive director, Northern California Regional Intelligence Center.
The panel delivered several “wow” moments. In framing the challenge of capturing and using data in new ways, Sena said, “Despite the fact that a lot of times we’re walking distance from the data, we need tools to help cross that bridge.”
O’Connor then put the importance of technology into perspective after explaining Tampa’s success in reducing crime by an impressive 74 percent over the past 10 years, in part due to the NC4 Street Smart solution powered by Azure: “Don’t just think of the 74 percent as just a number, think about the 100,000 fewer victims being impacted in Tampa.”
For me, that statement underscores the fact that driving safer communities is really all about improving the lives of people. This was our third year as a platinum sponsor of IACP, and Microsoft and our partners remain dedicated to empowering law enforcement to create safer cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens they serve. Please learn more at: