Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joined Police Chief James Rovella and other city officials at the former police headquarters building on Jennings Road Wednesday to unveil the city’s new “intelligence-sharing hub.” Law enforcement officials say the facility, boasting computer workstations and lined with flat-panel monitors, brings together a variety of data to help officers fight crime more efficiently.
The data center is staffed by two sergeants and three crime analysts. It harnesses a variety of data sources including gunshot detection technology, digital case files, traffic data and social media posts. While “big data” will never replace officers on the beat, Rovella says giving those officers as much information as possible when they’re responding to a call helps them make better, more informed decisions.
Bronin says a key component of the facility is its ability to gather and share crime data on a regional basis. “Criminal networks don’t necessarily stop at a municipal border any more than they stop at a state or national border, so we have built this in a way that allows us to gather information regionally, share it regionally and work with partners on a regional basis,” he said.
While the data center may help police assemble a more complete picture of crimes and identify trends more easily, Bronin plainly admits there’s a police staffing shortage in Hartford. He says the force is down more than 100 officers compared to where it should be and the city’s taking steps to improve the situation. Those steps include accelerating a police training class and initiating a larger class later this year.