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When developers and IT professionals from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department participated in Microsoft’s HackFest in February 2018, little did they know they would transform some of law enforcement’s established practices, saving time and potentially lives in the process. Their winning solution, called Coptivity, is an AI-enabled conversation mobile app, powered by Microsoft Azure Government, artificial intelligence and Cognitive Services Bot Framework, that delivers immediate dispatch assistance to deputies on patrol.

“At a high level, Coptivity is essentially an intelligent voice assist for law enforcement out in the field,“ explained Ashish “Yosh” Kakkad, CIO of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s leveraging technology to solve problems … That’s what Microsoft has helped us do is to get to a point where we can achieve more.” Instead of calling dispatch to run a license plate or get background information on a driver – and sometimes waiting from 5 to 30 minutes for the results – officers could query Coptivity to instantly identify a vehicle’s registration status and the owner’s criminal and mental health background.

Officers would access the new “chatbot” assistant by saying or typing a license number or uploading a photo, enabling them to access critical information wherever they are, in real-time, using voice commands so their eyes and hands stay focused on the situation in front of them. Chris Hodgkins, a senior IT engineer for the Sheriff’s Department, realized the potential of Coptivity to give officers “better situational awareness in the moment” before they step out of their cars. In addition to equipping first responders with a tool to enhance public safety, prevent crime or save lives, and deliver improved services to citizens, Coptivity could potentially eliminate routine data searches, saving dispatchers time so that they can focus on more complex information requests.

“With Coptivity, officers don’t need to call anymore so, in a couple of minutes, they can have their results and that will be amazing and, in some scenarios, life-saving,” said Negar Meskarzadeh, another Sheriff’s Department senior IT engineer.

Kakkad summed up the potential of cloud-powered AI solutions: “We’re looking at Azure to really transform what we do and how we do it, and bring new innovations to the table. We just continuously move forward. The way I see digital transformation is more like digital evolution.”

Please learn more about Coptivity in this short video and gain insights into the future of AI technology in government here.

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