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The Role of Technology in the Strategies for Policing Innovation Program: Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons Learned -- Software Edition

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2019
18 pages

This report is the second in a two-part series that highlights technology's role in the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA's) Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI) program (now known as the Smart Policing Initiative).


In its focus on software innovation in policing, the report presents case studies of four SPI sites whose initiatives involved the implementation of two software technologies. One involves risk terrain modeling (New Haven, Connecticut), and the second software innovation features social network analysis (Cincinnati, Ohio; Glendale, Arizona; and Kansas City, Missouri.). Each case study describes the technology, the SPI project goals and implementation, and the impact of the software innovation on the targeted outcome (crime reduction). The report then reviews the benefits of software innovation across sites. These include more efficient deployment of limited resources and an improved understanding of high-crime places and people. In each case, the report provides examples of how the technology has improved the efficient and effective functioning of the SPI agencies. The report also identifies the challenges that stem from unrealistic expectations for technology's impact and the problems associated with unreasonable program objectives. In addition, the report addresses human problems that can impede implementation, such as resistance to the innovation at the line level. Another lesson learned is the difficulty of evaluating new technologies. Sustaining the innovation is another significant challenge, given changing priorities and leadership. In addition to examining existing software innovations at older SPI sites, the report also reviews other recently funded SPI sites that have proposed deploying software technologies. 3 figures

Date Published: November 1, 2019