Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Task force recommends better technology for police force

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Police Division should invest nearly $1.6 million in new technology to help street-level officers fight crime, according to a task force led by former Councilman Phil Heimlich.

        The task force, which included neighborhood activists, council members and others, presented its recommendations to City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.

        Mr. Heimlich said the city should:

        • Hire a consultant to redraw patrol districts to more effectively deploy officers to high-crime areas.

        • Invest in crime-mapping software to better track trends and hot spots.

        • Install automatic vehicle locators so dispatchers can track patrol cars without waiting for officers to radio in.

        • Give police officers laptops and hand-held computers to write reports and access crime information.

        • Post daily crime data on a Web site.

        • Hire more civilian operators for the Telephone Crime Reporting Unit.

        Mr. Heimlich said Cincinnati is behind dozens of other major cities that are using technology with success.

        “When we talk about crime mapping in Cincinnati, we're usually talking about push-pin maps,” he said.

        Mr. Heimlich's suggestions were well received by City Council.

        Councilman John Cranley said every council member has heard “horror stories” of crime victims waiting 20 or 30 minutes to get an officer to take a report over the phone.


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