Smart phones and laptops will soon be required equipment at roll calls in the Chelsea Police Department as the force is about to begin fighting crime in a much more technical way.
Chief Brian Kyes announced last week that he has shuffled his department around in a way that allows him to have a full-time and a part-time crime analyst devoted to following criminal trends and crime hotspots in the City. By looking at crime statistics in Chelsea and surrounding areas, the analysts will be able to find out what criminals are committing crimes in and around Chelsea and where they are committing those crimes.
That critical information, Kyes hopes, will soon be another layer of armor for officers fighting crime on Chelsea’s streets.
“We have three shifts and three roll calls that are 15 minutes each,” he said. “I want the roll call to be more than giving out assignments. I want it to be transmitting information on current crime trends and certain bad guys we’re looking for. I want it be where officers can watch surveillance videos at roll call and download them to take with them when they’re on duty. They will be able to have updated information electronically to help them recognize people or see things firsthand. So when they’re out on the street they know exactly who and what we’re looking for.”
Kyes explained that the department has had the technical ability to do this for several years, but never had the proper staffing. Sgt. John Cowhig has long been the computer information technology (IT) officer for many years along with the duties of analyzing crime. However, he has been so bogged down with the IT portion of the job, that he rarely has had the time to analyze crime statistics.
“I came to realize we need someone full-time doing crime analyst stuff,” said Kyes.
So, Kyes recently hired a civilian to work the IT needs of the department full-time, thus allowing Sgt. Cowhig to become a full-time crime analyst.
At the same time, the City and the School Department won a grant that pays for a part-time crime analyst to look at trends involving school-age kids.
The two simultaneous events have left the cupboard full for the Chelsea Police, and it has Kyes excited about what they can accomplish using their technology to its fullest capabilities.
“Basically, we go from having no crime analyst whatsoever to having one and a half individuals looking at crime data and analyzing it,” he said. “I’m very excited because Chelsea is a small city – 2.2 square miles – but the reality is we have our crime issues as it pertains to certain hot spots. I want to be able to put information out every day if I can. We will now have more of a pulse on when activity is occurring and what type of activity – whether violence, prostitution, drugs or even vandalism.”
So, if all goes as planned, Chelsea officers will get daily briefings from their sergeant at roll call and also from their electronic devices.
Chief Kyes said he will also soon be enlisting the public’s help in fighting crime the technological way.
He said that he plans to bolster the department’s electronic Citizen Action Network through a new application (app) that is available free for Smart Phones. He said that within the next 30 days the Chelsea Police will be rolling out the new app to help the general public alert police to crime using their smart phones and the Citizen Action Network.
The application, called MyPD, was developed by a Peabody police officer and Chelsea would be one of only six departments with the program.
“This will be a lot more enhanced than anything we have,” he said. “The multitude of things this free app can do for the police department is unbelievable. If someone on the street sees a person breaking into a car they can take a picture of it or make a video of it and send it instantly to the police department. We’ll have people who will be in charge of receiving it and instantly disseminate it.”