Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Omega Dashboard

This week we launched a new computer application from the Omega Group that has some good potential. It’s the Omega Dashboard, an internal application designed to keep our staff informed. The dashboard is a webpage containing automated, updated content that presents employees them with the common operating picture: an overview of certain trends and information so you can stay abreast of what’s going on in this busy City. The whole idea is to give you at a glance a webpage with key information that you don’t have to fetch: it’s already been pushed to your page.

The Dashboard page is composed of panels called viewers. You can display several viewers in your browser, and they can be clicked on and off, arranged on the page, rolled up or expanded. Each viewer contains maps, data, and reports about incidents, crimes, places, or persons. Each viewer can have multiple pages, through which the user can cycle using the control buttons. These pages usually contain links to much more detailed reports which in turn contain drill downs to an increasing level of detail.

The content on the webpage is customized somewhat to your area of assignment: there is different content for the Northeast Team than for the Southeast Team, and so forth. The content is available for the City as a whole, or just limited to any one of the department’s five geographic commands. Here are some examples:

Crime Trends: A series of graphs of this year's trends by month for selected Part 1 Crimes.

Recent Crimes: Maps and details of selected crimes within the past 3 days: robbery, rape, indecent exposure, burglary, auto theft, larceny from auto.

Registered Sex Offenders: An overview graph of sex offenders by risk level, with a link to the detailed information on each; a map of all high risk sex offenders with an address change in the preceding week, and the details on each.

Hot Persons: Maps and details on each person for whom a new arrest warrant was issued in Lancaster County during the preceding week, and each person for whom a police broadcast (our term for an “all points bulletin”) during the preceding week.

Problem Places: Maps and details about the top 10 locations for false alarms, and the locations of any repeat calls to party disturbances at the same address within the preceding 90 days.

Dashboard News: This viewer contains an RSS feed of brief information or notices from the Crime Analysis Unit (and me!)

I’ve blogged about dashboards a couple times lately. This concept has caught on in business and in government as a means of simplifying vast information resources into snapshot view of a few key indicators. I’ve already seen the preliminary concepts of the next version of the Omega Dashboard already, and it looks like a big jump to a new plateau.


Anonymous said...


I'm convinced that you've never met a graph that you didn't like.



Anonymous said...

Is this information going to be used for higher level analysis or for the cops on the street? If it's intended for the cops on the street what will they do with this information? How will it help them make the city safer and fight crime?

Tom Casady said...


This really isn't an analytical application at all, just a way of delivering information. I suspect that Team commanding officers, supervisors, and chiefs will be the main users. They are the ones who ought to be most interested in trends this year and broad overview information. But there is also content that would be of interest to street officers: who has a new arrest warrant, where do I have a new high risk sex offender on my beat, who do we have on our Team area that associates with the Gangster Disciples, and so forth.

One of the phenomena here at LPD is that we have grown so accumstomed to having information at our fingertips that some of these enhancements or alternatives are greeted with something of a collective "ho-hum." The Omega Dashboard is just one way to obtain the same kind of information. What distinguishes this application in my mind is the use of "push" rather than "pull" to deliver the content.

Like most things, it will be of great interest to some, a little interest to many, and no interest at all to a few. I'm fairly confident that both this concept and this product will quickly evolve into something even more robust that will be of considerable value and interest.

Anonymous said...

chief, can you comment on the double dui early weds... wondering from what location she was served and where the car was parked at..


getting a cab in lincoln.
to be safe if one was to enjoy some adult beverages..

how many cabs are on duty during the day?..

what is the cab available per call ratio...and also compared to late night say 9pm til 3 am..

I see a no parking sign on 14th and O. for cabs.. but for some reason I NEVER see a cab from 12-3 am... and I have called.. beyond the dispatcher lady being rude... its hard to get such a cab late night....

are there enough cabs to be called in case someone doesnt want to drink and drive??

just wondering....

Anonymous said...

Great, more information for everyone except those that could USE it. The public should be able to view this stuff too. Much of it is for LE only. Nothing like big secrets. Also, why waste time trying to get the person who stole a battery from Walmart. The battery is worth a whopping 70.00
The time spent on the case is a WASTE! The Walmart company made how many BILLIONS last year,,,going to vomit now.

Anonymous said...

Read through a few of your other posts, it seems to be entertaining stuff.
who ever thought police officers could be interesting eh?

Anonymous said...

Chief, this comment is not really about this topic, but I had a question about the grant money to add 4 new officers. It was my understanding that you were planning on having a class of 12-13 recruits before the money was awarded. but upon receiving the money you are using it to pay for three of the 13 that started training last week. are you really adding officers if you are using the money for officers that you were already planning on hiring? in other words, why didn't you use it to hire three more this time, making the total class 16?

Tom Casady said...

2:04 -

See today's post. Can't help you with taxis. Apparently the biz in Lincoln isn't strong enough to support more, or someone would step in to fill the niche. The demand at bar break is quite short term, and if you've already got a fare in the back seat, it'll be 30 minutes before you can get back.


What on Earth are you talking about? Show me a police department anywhere that makes as much information so easily available to the general public: daily police incidents online, on-the-web accident reports and criminal histories, up to date interactive crime mapping applications in three different flavors, a Crimestoppers blog dripping with photos and videos of suspects, a Chief's Blog packed with content, an RSS feed for everything, two Facebook pages, Crime Alerts that push notifications to you, online news releases, a daily news briefing, and a Century's worth of annual reports online and filled with information--all of which I've blogged about before with some frequency.

Have a nice earp. Hope no one steals your battery.


The current class puts us over our budgeted and authorized strength of 317, so I feel we can legitimately start claiming the grant funds for three. In January, we'll oversize the class a bit from previous projections, and start claiming the fourth. I could have upped the current class by a few, but with only a week between the announcement of the grant award and the starting date of the academy, there simply wasn't time.

Anonymous said...

I would jump for joy if I could generate a map of the known location and name of every person in my neighborhood with a conviction for burglary, larceny of any sort, vandalism, aggravated assault, murder, manslaughter, or robbery (and that would include juveniles). I know you can do that, but I wish we could do it too. Some of us aren't at risk for being victimized by RSOs, nor are we in charge of anyone who is at risk, but we've got lives and property.