In wake of Paris, Fresno P.D. rolls out big data to fight crime

In the wake of Paris attacks, Fresno Police roll out a big data system to fight crime in the city.


Dyer on Nov. 9 sat in his office for a little Monday morning quarterbacking.


Dyer said Casto had already relayed the council’s concerns to Intrado. Company officials “are looking into ways they can refine their system,” Dyer said.

Dyer said he made a promise to council members and the department itself.

“Unless we are able to remove the color coding system and maybe have it rely only on criminal history information, then we won’t be pursuing the purchase of this product,” Dyer said.

The Chief told the council on Nov. 5 that Fresno police for the past year had been giving Beware an on-the-job test. For that reason, the department is getting Beware for free.

Dyer in his office said Fresno in the future would get Beware at a reduced cost. He said he couldn’t recall the proposed cost, but the discount would be steep.

There are a lot of bugs still to work out, Dyer said. For example, should there be civilian oversight of Beware if the department cuts a deal with Intrado? Dyer said perhaps the video policing auditor (a job currently held on a volunteer basis by former federal judge Oliver Wanger) could also review Beware practices.

Dyer noted that a Tea Party member (Brandau), a libertarian (Olivier) and a Democrat (Baines) viewed Beware with skepticism.

“That means people across the board have concerns with the product,” Dyer said. “And we have, too.”

Beware will probably stay on the City Hall hot seat until Intrado officials come to town and do some effective selling themselves. Dyer said they might show up someday.

Then, eight days after three council members turned a harsh eye on high-tech intelligence gathering, came November 13 and Paris.

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks (ISIS claimed responsibility) killed 129 people and left more than 350 wounded.

There were seven suicide bombers. They had plenty of support before the attacks, authorities said.

The terrorists were a combination of European-born murderers and foreign-born murderers.

The dead and wounded had been enjoying the fruits of Western civilization in the City of Light. The murderers rejected the legitimacy of those values.

By all accounts, the attacks are proof of a massive failure of surveillance and intelligence by French government and its allies, including the United States.

And by all accounts, such well-planned and deadly attacks could happen in the United States.

Fresno’s Real Time Crime Center and its many technological assets, Beware among them, almost certainly gained renewed relevance in the wake of the Paris slaughter.

“I would prefer we secure our borders (rather) than going thru (sic) people’s web searches and online purchases,” Brandau told me in a weekend email.

Dyer told me in a weekend email: “Having the ability to gather intelligence is foundational to the safety and security of every community.”

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