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Police departments use state grants to cover the cost of new purchases of online programs, mobile apps and new gadgets to track crime, as well as to create a closer connection with the community. Another benefit: officers can perform their jobs more efficiently and with less human error, according to officials. This benefits both the departments and residents.
The Goodyear Police Department launched Regional Analysis Information Data Sharing, RAIDS, to help identify crime trends in specific neighborhoods. The program went live on July 14. RAIDS allows officers to track and analyze crime trends in their community as well as surrounding areas. Residents can subscribe to the program and receive crime alters from the department or send an anonymous tip about a crime in the area, thereby staying informed continuously about their own neighborhood. Community members can snap a photo of the problem, upload it to the app and send it to the police.
The app also allows users to connect with a specific city department or city official. “It helps our officers see what the community sees on neighboring cities’ RAIDS maps,” Lisa Kutis, a spokeswoman for the department, told The Republic.
The department began using mobile fingerprint devices last January. If officers need to fingerprint a suspect, they can use the machine on-scene instead of bringing the person back to the department. The machine requires a print from the index finger of each hand to positively identify an individual. “It takes just about a minute or so to find out if they are wanted in the state of Arizona,” said Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the department. “Also our detectives are able to use these on a crime scene if there is an unidentified victim.”
In Surprise, the police officers have worn Taser and Axon body cameras since August 2013. All patrol officers and school-resource officers have been issued an Axon camera and all patrol sergeants use a Taser body camera while responding to investigations, traffic enforcement and contact with the community.
The Axon camera can be worn at chest level and includes a built-in battery. “The videos captured have been a useful tool for officers to use when going to court reference a traffic or criminal offense,” a Surprise police officer said.