Alberta invests millions in police services IT

Fighting crime in Alberta just got a little easier with a $100 million investment from the provincial government in a new IT strategy for police services.

The money is to be invested in a five year project with about $66 million going to a centralized crime database, according to Christine Wronko, spokesperson for Alberta’s solicitor general and public security office.

“The plan now will be to hold consultations with municipal police services and the RCMP across the province so that we can get a better sense of what they want this to look like once it’s ready to go,” said Wronko.

She said project funding began as a recommendation by the 2000 Member of the Legislative Assembly policing review committee and has been a priority for the department for quite some time.

Currently, police agencies in Alberta don’t have a single province-wide database where they can get detailed intelligence information necessary to solve crimes in their community, according to Wronko.

“There are existing computer systems, but trying to get that information is time consuming,” she said. “It’s very cumbersome and not all law enforcement agencies use the same systems.”

Wronko said information is usually obtained and shared through phone calls, faxes and emails.

“This (database) will have a fair amount of information that will help fight organized crime and serious crime so this is a bit different than some of the systems that are already out there,” she said.

And from the perspective of the police agencies that will be using the database, the more information they can access the better, according to Edmonton Police Services spokesperson, Dean Parthenis.

“The Edmonton Police Service would find the database more useful if it were able to provide the type of information that would help identify a potential criminal that’s wanted,” said Parthenis. “If there were any outstanding warrants and any relevant information, that might assist an investigator in solving a crime that’s under investigation,” said Parthenis.

Wronko said that one of the aims of the IT strategy is to give real-time information to the law enforcement agencies to be delivered to front line officers.

“It’s a more effective method to fight organized and serious crime and we’re taking the integrated and collaborative approach when building this database,” she said.

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