Los Angeles is one of the cities in the United States, in the year 2010; the city is approximated to have a population of four million people, with an area of four hundred and sixty eight square miles. In 1869, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was created to serve the area. Currently, LAPD is the third most prevalent police department in the United States. The police force faces an array of challenges Corwin, (2004), these includes governance, financial constraints, resource allocations, sustainable evidence gathering and storage, crime detections and operational priorities.
Brief background of the organization Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been in the forefront in innovative techniques in an effort to fight crime, the technological systems proposed to be adopted by LAPD, takes into consideration the implementations which are currently in place. LAPD has adopted several Information Technology centered techniques which includes remote camera surveillance system, automatic license plate-recognition system, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and facial-recognition software.
The information Technology driven approaches adopted by LAPD have had strategic implications on the performance of the police department Chu, (2001), considering the diverse challenges encountered by the police force; the technologies are also envisioned to offer a competitive edge, to the police force in fighting crime. The report considers and evaluates the strategic implications of information technology in the police force in future.
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been cooperating with several partners in implementation information technology driven solutions to fight crime. Over the past the department has utilized Information Technology in gathering watertight evidence in criminal cases and gaining public trust, the phased implementation of installation of video cameras in one thousand six hundred cars, to serve more than twelve thousand officers, to cost approximately $25 million is evidenced highlight of the utilization of Information Communication Technology.
Northrop Grumman has long history with the American armed forces, the company was contracted in the year 1996 to plan and construct the Los Angeles Police Department Emergency Command Control and Communications System with subsidiary self-sufficient emergency dispatch centers, the project lasted for five years. With diverse experience, they have assisted the police to deploy computer-aided dispatch (CAD) the police boast of Emergency Communication System which integrates CommandPoint(tm) Mobile applications from Northrop Grumman and computer-aided dispatch (CAD)
Discussion of Current Business Issues Governance has been a business challenge in the United States police force, Los Angeles inclusive. There has been a mix up in roles and responsibilities of the police officers, where at times the states have had mixed hierarchies confounded by bureaucratic empires and fiefdoms. Furthermore, there have been a massive amount of units, which has complicated the crime fighting due to diverse hierarchy of reporting structures.
The current business environment calls for paradigm shift to increase accountability and transparency. Governance in the police force has also been an issue in waning public confidence, the current business environment favors self perpetuating oligarchy, this call for implementation of systems that favor accountability to the public. As regards financial expenditure in the police force, the police have over the years been consumers of tax, without resultant direct creation of wealth.
Business wise, the police force have been viewed as liabilities to the tax payers, the fact that criminals have been advancing in technology calls for a rejoinder in form of technological advancement from the police quarters, this comes with increased expenditure. Moreover, the area covered by the Los Angeles police department is wide, with the ever increasing population means that the financial expenditure rises with time, however, the prevailing economic situations means that there are several competing needs for the funds available; this has curtailed monies allocated to the police department.
The business environment also involves utilization of resources. Human resources, which in this case involves police officers and Information Communication Technology staff are the essential resources in the LAPD, currently, the legendary system requires the police department to have trained personnel to manage the network infrastructure. The systems also have the police department utilizing its own network link, which is very expensive in terms of maintenance as well as the regular training of officers as argued by Glenn, (2003), to update on the latest encryption techniques, so as to maintain the integrity of data.
A crucial examination of the duties and responsibilities of all the officers has at times generated duplication of responsibilities, with several officers dedicated to supervisory duties rather than in directly fighting crime, therefore the roles of the officers have to be defined and the human resource streamlined to meet the customer demands, which in this case, is the public. The biggest challenge however has been escalating crime and solution lies in effectively detecting and avoiding crime.
Some researchers have argued that senior police officers condone the practices associated with fiddling the figures, “Cooking the Books” also referred as gaming, to portray crime levels as decreasing, by techniques such as cuffing, stitching, skewing, nodding. The business issues are weakness in terms of evidence to charge suspects, where suspects have escaped judgment due to weak evidence mechanism, Joycelyn, (2008).
Moreover, with the escalating number of criminals, officers have at time had to rely of the strength of their memories to remember all the suspects, in addition some suspects may be available in the police departments’ database, but the officers may not be able to access the data while in the field. There is therefore a need of a system which can capture and sustain evidence, while assisting the officers identify criminals hence improving security in Los Angeles.
Another current issue is the operational priorities challenge where the priorities of the police force have been diversified and not in agreement with the Peelian principles, which lays emphasis on protection of life and property and the prevention and detection of crime, in this case anything else is a distraction. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has faced the challenge of operational priorities, where the systems being utilized have demanded the officers to concentrate on maintaining the systems; there is therefore need to implement a system which fosters Peelian principles.
The current business environment has therefore a myriad of challenges, the police at all times are expected to have a strategic competitive advantage over their competitor – the criminals. The police have to adopt a paradigm shift which invilves adoption and implementation of Information Technology driven solutions, the application of not only creativity but also imagination in the approach to its adoption gives credence to the common caution to innovators that you cannot use yesterday’s tool for today’s job and expect to be in business tomorrow.
With respect to Los Angeles Police Department, , LAPD cannot afford to keep using traditional methodology of detecting and fighting crime and expected to beat the criminals who are advancing with technology. Discussion of Proposed Solution The proposed solution lies in total implementation of the Emergency Communication System which integrates CommandPoint(tm) Mobile applications and computer-aided dispatch (CAD).
The implementation of CommandPoint Mobile interfaces acts as a link between the command centre and the field units, improving access to the latest information by the field officers while fostering exchange of information, between the field officers, command centre and other interested police forces within the United States, such as the detectives and crime busters. The envisioned solution should in addition encompass remote camera surveillance which posses’ intelligent video competence to tenuously recognize and scrutinize apprehensive occurrences, when illegal actions transpire the police officers can be alerted.
The automatic license plate-recognition system (PlateScan) involves patrol vehicles fitted with video cameras and mobile data computer, where the scanned license plates are systematically compared with existent data in databases incase the vehicle may be of need to the law enforcers. The facial-recognition software works in concord with camera surveillance system to scrutinize the captured images of human faces, then quickly and accurately judge against images contained in the database, these video cameras are deployed in patrol vehicles.
This is envisaged to address the problem of identification of suspects, since suspects can be identified in shorter times. To interconnect the several disperse officers in the field, LAPD’s Information and Communications Services Bureau adopted, it is proposed that the officers utilize public network to decrease costs while improving security by increasing coverage, using public network also reduces the human resource constraint the network shall have, since the police shall not have to maintain their own network, neither to they have to maintain the network.
With the implementation of the automated field reporting system and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), the need for mobile communication with high speed broadband was imminent, the legendary system was restricted to certain areas, while operating in low speeds of 19. Kilo bits per second, the proposed solution is to consider the existent LAPD installed Sprint Data Link where the patrol vehicles are fitted an antenna connected to an EV-DO Sierra Wireless 595 connection card in a Dell D610 laptops installed with Windows XP operating system SP2, 1 GB of RAM, a DVD drive, and an 80 GB hard disk, the police can easily access databases, crime-analysis data, photographs, fingerprints, reports and mapping data,. The fact that Sprint is a private network calls for need to increment the security measures.
The proposed solution includes utilization of registered modems by the officers to avoid unauthorized access to the network; this is fostered by end-to-end encryption as well as the providers’ authentication server. Computer Aided Dispatch in combination with the proposals above provides the officers indispensable wide source of information for strategic decision making. The utilization of information technology has been fostered further by Bluetooth fingerprint scanners; currently the scanners are limited in application.
However, it is proposed that every patrol vehicle to be equipped with fingerprint scanners, such that persons with clean history cannot be subjected to suspicious arrests, this addresses the issue of arbitrary arrests therefore improving the customer image of the police force, furthermore, the devices to be utilized by the officers should be GPS capable therefore the police can accurately determine locations and positions with precision.
The utilization of a private mobile broadband network is intentioned to reduce the costs associated with network access since utilizes high speeds, with minimal costs, furthermore, officers are relieved the duties of maintaining the network. The laptops have to preserve the image determined for mission critical systems to guarantee dependability and security with minimal downtime without dependence on Information Communication Technology personnel; this requires the deployment of Anti-Executable and Deep Freeze as a comprehensive solution on the MDC laptops.
Deep Freeze allows the users to promptly reboot the laptop to return it to its original Configuration, this has avoided the need to substitute the laptops when a problem occurs. This is in addition to Anti-Executable’s whitelist technology which standardizes the operating environment by regulating the programs installable. This has been adopted to reduce the number of personnel required to keep the systems in performance mode, therefore addressing governance challenges.
The proposed solution is not immune of challenges, considering that the operations are in data sensitive environment, the shifting of the computing environment from MDT to MDC denote new software and hardware, this introduces threats and vulnerabilities. Using more than one thousand five hundred laptops and modems introduces new threats and probable software configuration issues. Windows XP is predisposed to external threats such as spyware, viruses, and other malware. The strategic utilization of Information Technology in LAPD
The future of LAPD in utilization of Information Technology has great potential. The Department has optional innovations which include empowering police on foot; horseback or bicycle patrols with high-speed data network access by facilitating handheld devices to utilize wireless data cards, the officers can effectively access the data, from the centralized station, without necessarily using patrol vehicles. Furthermore, having high definition video streamed from cameras and patrol cars to a centralized system in the station enables the police to have real-time information of scenarios as they unfold.
In addition, the department can integrate GPS information into the dispatch system for mobile resource management. Recommendations Whereas the police department has been faced with an array of challenges such as the large population size and density, the bulky geographical area, and further complicated by the cultural diversity of the residents. Information technology has been extolled as the ultimate solution, while progressing efficiency of the Department.
Implementation of the proposed system shall enable the LAPD reduce costs associated with networking, since they shall be utilizing public network and already available software such as Windows XP, Deep Freeze and Anti-Executable. Moreover, the system shall require fewer officers to manage, hence reducing costs while addressing governance challenges by ensuring that officers get access to all the requisite information as and when needed, hence avoiding bureaucracy in accessing information.
While fostering the relationship with the customers – the public, the officers shall also be able to detect and deal with crime as it occurs, while getting substantial and immense evidences against criminals. The system also enables the officers to concentrate on their operational priority – fighting crime in Los Angeles. To protect the people of Los Angeles therefore, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) should adopt information technology driven solutions which are anticipated to offer several merits in the next three years and beyond.
These strategic impacts of the proposed system are intentioned to have a competitive advantage over criminals, these strategic impacts include enhanced coverage, faster response to emergencies, mapping capabilities and harmonization of communication among the police personnel, connectivity to the investigators and detectives as well as to the entire United States police unit – hence reducing or even eliminating crime in Los Angeles.