Edmonton police announces Community Solutions Accelerator project
Believed to be a first in North American policing, this collaborative project uses the talent and tech from corporate partners to fight crime and improve public safety via funding, lab space, IT infrastructure, technical support, research expertise, marketing and mentorship, etc.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS), through the support of the Edmonton Police Foundation and corporate partners, will now be utilizing the “latest industry technology and innovative expertise to collaboratively solve the ongoing issues impacting our community.” This will be done through the Community Solutions Accelerator approach, a first for policing in North America, according to the service.
“Some elements of community policing will never change, but resources are limited, so we need to find new ways to respond to the problems that continue to impact our citizens, strain our healthcare services, and overflow our criminal justice system,” says Police Chief Dale McFee. “We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome. We need to think differently, act differently, and take some risks if we want to see real results for the vulnerable people in the community.”
The Community Solutions Accelerator (CSA) is a “ground-breaking new approach to public safety and well-being modelled on business applications that combine amalgamated data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve complex problems,” EPS announced.
Using available data from a variety of sources, the CSA will focus on the interconnected challenges affecting Edmonton such as crime, addictions, homelessness, and mental health.
The data will be a roadmap for change, and while the solutions will benefit the safety and well-being of Edmontonians, they could potentially be applied to other communities across the country and around the world facing similar challenges.
“The CSA is an exciting venture with a lot of promise because it utilizes a very creative and different way of looking at problems that has yielded significant advances in other industries,” says Ashif Mawji, Chair of the Edmonton Police Foundation (EPF), who has helped to mobilize corporate interest and investment in the project and develop a governance model. “This will be the first time that the entrepreneurial spirit in research and development will be harnessed to turn community challenges into opportunities for sustainable solutions. This is expected to provide numerous opportunities for commercial development and employment as well.”
Through the stewardship of the EPF, the CSA has attracted the talent and technology of corporate partners who share the vision of making Edmonton and Alberta safer, including the University of Alberta, ATB Financial, TELUS, and Motorola Solutions Canada.
Depending on the scope of the initiatives, partners will contribute numerous resources such as funding, lab space, IT infrastructure, technical support, research expertise, marketing and mentorship.
Founding partners include Telus, Motorola Solutions, the University of Alberta, and ATB Financial.
Because of the collaborative nature of the CSA and the sharing of large volumes of data, research initiatives will be ethical, transparent, and compliant with privacy legislation.
The CSA is believed to be the first of its kind in North America and will pioneer a human-centred and holistic approach to policing and community safety. It will be evaluated on how well its solutions mitigate harm to individuals and diminish criminal activities.
Chief Dale McFee adds, “We cannot solve anything in isolation. The Community Solutions Accelerator is driven entirely by the collaboration of our various communities and the data that is available.”
“Think about the diversity of ideas from all these different organizations, and what we can do when we work together and focus on the outcomes. This is our opportunity to make a quantum leap in policing, and to take community safety and wellness into the next century.”