Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $700,000)
Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI), Purpose Area 1: Supporting Innovation, provides resources to support projects to implement and test innovative approaches to operational challenges and violent crime reduction. SPI grant recipients will develop innovative, data-driven approaches to challenges currently confronting law enforcement agencies. Recipients must: 1) describe the innovative, data-driven approach to be implemented; 2) create an action plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach; 3) identify a specific violent crime problem to address; 4) develop a prevention, mitigation, or response strategy to address the problem; 5) evaluate the project; and 6) assess and report the results to BJA for public availability. The evaluation design must include outcome measures capable of informing a credible assessment of the effectiveness of the strategies.
The Milwaukee Police Department (WPD) proposes to implement new investigative technologies to respond to the impact the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus has caused on non-fatal firearm shooting investigations. The societal response to the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged traditional aspects of investigative policing. The proposed project expands current use of technology and applies new innovative technologies to support crime prevention and citizen safety, especially regarding how shooting investigations are handled. Three technologies are proposed: (a) social network analysis, (b) the integration of video analytics into our public surveillance system, and (c) anonymous reporting applications. The integration of technology innovations will be complemented by the projects research component. Urban Institute (Urban) in Washington, DC will partner with MPD to provide an evidence-based evaluation answering the following three research questions: 1) how has COVID-19 affected community members willingness to interact or provide information to police officers or detectives; 2) what technologies has the MPD implemented to enhance its shooting investigations during COVID-19; and 3) have these new technologies had an impact on non-fatal shooting case evidence collection and arrest outcomes? The research design will use a community survey, stakeholder interviews, and analyses of administrative data. The overall goals of the project are to (1) implement new technologies in a manner that is guided by research, evidence, and best practice; (2) examine the use and impact of new and existing technologies; and (3) generate operational knowledge on the ideal and reasonable use of specific investigative technologies from the perspective of police decision-makers and accountability-minded community members. The proposed technologies will continue to enhance our shooting investigations even after the pandemic ends and things return to whatever the new normal looks like.