In a Glass House: Police Policing the Police with TEAMS II Technology
The system notices any officer who engages in any one of five different risk activities, Goodrich says. "It does a calculation and, if the officer falls outside the norm or the average for the group, it flags the officer and notifies the supervisor. You can't turn a blind eye -- you have to look at the employee."
All LAPD employees have access to their TEAMS report. The Police Commission and the Inspector General's office conduct regular reviews and audits of TEAMS II.
The system also identifies officers who are performing in an exemplary manner, like Amanda Regina Scott, assistant commanding officer at ITD, who has been working for the LAPD for 24 years.
"You don't have to wait until an officer is in such deep corruption that there's no saving the officer," Scott says. "As soon as something happens, we get notified. It's the police policing the police living in a glass house."
Joe Siegel is vice president for justice and public safety at Sierra Systems, the software company that designed TEAMS II. He says the system "isn't too popular with the rank and file. ... It's a Big Brother sort of thing. Finding a person who has those kinds of challenges ... by the time it hits the numbers it might be too late. It's unique in that it requires action by supervisors. I don't think any other departments in the country are doing that. The system requires you to follow through. It mandates that some kind of action be taken."
The LAPD also is on the cop-tech forefront with another domain that's gaining traction in law enforcement. It's called predictive policing. "It uses technology to deploy resources to take corrective actions before something happens ... extrapolating statistics to predict the future," Siegel explains. The LAPD "is starting to use technology in a pretty innovative way. People like Charlie Beck are open to that. The potential saving of liability claims and the reduction of lawsuits are a pretty important thing there."
Ishan Shapiro is a social technologist and co-founder of ThinkState, a data-innovation consultancy based in Los Angeles. Shapiro says software companies "are putting systems into place that give all the stakeholders in a given entity the ability to input ideas, evaluate each other's ideas, rate and build reputation to leverage the collective intelligence of the group to solve problems and innovate on issues at hand."
The LAPD is a closed system, however, which does not involve the citizens of Los Angeles, the stakeholders, in a meaningful way. TEAMS II, for example, is an entirely internal system.
"That doesn't work in a connected world," Shapiro says, pointing to a more fundamental issue. "Even if they've got the latest and greatest technology at their disposal, is their approach going to bear fruit if they are not enabling communication with community stakeholders?
"Being on the forefront of technology means adopting different methods and approaches that fundamentally transform their current structure. Is changing the status quo something that anyone there is willing to take the risk to do?"