Steinbach MLA and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen, announced that the Manitoba government is investing $750,000 to expand the Connected Officer Pilot (COP) program, an innovative technology initiative that has been shown to improve efficiency and effectiveness for front-line law enforcement officers and improved service delivery for citizens.
“The pilot testing of digital technology to assist in the duties of Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) officers produced positive results, so we are pleased to support phase two of the project, including expansion to other police services across the province,” said Goertzen. “Giving officers the ability to perform work-related tasks digitally, such as inter-officer communication, taking statements or recording evidence, helps modernize policing responsibilities and better serve our communities.”
The advancement of digital technology provides police agencies with an opportunity to realize significant operational efficiencies, which will enhance service across Manitoba communities, noted the minister. The COP program allows Manitoba law enforcement agencies to modernize by adopting mobile digital evidence-management technology. This technology allows officers to take statements, upload video, picture and audio evidence, and record notes digitally. The information is then stored using cloud computing, with information readily accessible from the application and via desktop computer or mobile device.
The next phase of funding for the COP program will see the WPS receive $375,000 to provide 150 officers with mobile access to police information and databases, digital notes and evidence capture capabilities, as well as digital evidence management and other applications for one year. This technology markedly improves efficiency and effectiveness for front-line officers, noted the minister. As well, the ability to utilize connected officer technology will support the work of the Manitoba Criminal Intelligence Centre to work collaboratively with police agencies and promote and co-ordinate the sharing of criminal intelligence and analytics to better target all levels of crime.
“The addition of mobile police applications will truly change the way officers assist the public, through key enhancements such as digital evidence management, audio statements and digital notes just to name a few,” said Insp. George Labossiere, WPS, the senior officer overseeing the project. “This investment in technology creates efficiencies for the police, Manitoba Justice and most importantly the public.”
Based on the success of the first phase of the pilot, funding will be expanded to provide other police forces with funding of $375,000 to be divided between them to support local technology needs to better equip 150 of their officers in communities throughout Manitoba.
COP will support:
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
- Brandon Police Service;
- Manitoba First Nations Police Service;
- Winkler Police Service;
- Morden Police Service;
- Ste. Anne Police Service;
- Altona Police Service;
- Rivers Police Service;
- Victoria Beach Police Service;
- Cornwallis Police Service; and
- Springfield Police Service.
“The Manitoba First Nations Police Service appreciates the support from the government of Manitoba for integrated mobile technology,” said Chief Doug Palson, Manitoba First Nations Police Service. “Officers will have greater access to information and increased interaction with our data centre from wherever they are working. Creating connected officers will help us to respond quickly to distress calls and increase situational awareness during events. This funding means we can spend more time doing the things that really matter, building relationships and tackling problems together, to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families in our communities.”
“Our government is committed to alleviating extraneous demands on police resources, allowing our police officers to better focus on addressing serious crimes in our communities,” said Goertzen. “We are proud to expand this pilot project across our province and look forward to working with police agencies to improve public safety for all Manitobans.”