I was in Detroit most of the week, helping teach a seminar on crime analysis for police executives, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a division of the United States Department of Justice. I agreed to serve as a so-called "subject matter expert" at two or three of the ten seminars planned around the country.
This one was bigger than Oregon, with about 20 agencies in attendance, such as Grand Rapids, Flint, and Detroit. It was a great group, and I had some excellent offline discussions with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Michigan Department of Corrections, Canton Police, Grand Rapids PD, and the Detroit Public Schools.
A highlight for me, though, was on Friday morning after the conference. With late flights and time to kill, my two co-instructors and I managed to invite ourselves to the Detroit Police Department Crime Analysis Unit, on the seventh floor of the spanking new downtown police headquarters. Hey, what do you know: it's a Department of Public Safety joint police and fire facility! Sgt. Sloan and Deputy Chief Levalley were our hosts.
I was impressed with their operation, which, despite the huge size differential, employs a quite similar thought process and strategies to those we use in Lincoln to make information available to our personnel in a straightforward and accessible interface relying upon a web browser and an Intranet.
Dr. David Martin, from Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies, spent quite a bit of time showing me how he has helped DPD create a web-based Intranet interface to the police RMS and other information systems. It is very similar in concept to the strategy that has guided Lincoln's police information resources since the mid 1990's, and cutting edge. I hope I left Detroit with at least one good idea from Lincoln: I know they left me with one.