SAN FRANCISCO
12/06/2012 12:46 am ET Updated Feb 04, 2013

SFPD's 'Crime Data Warehouse' Represents Department's New Technical Era (VIDEO)

This article comes to us courtesy of Bloomberg TV.

By Jon Erlichman

Given how close San Francisco is to Silicon Valley, you'd think the city's cops would have lots of tech toys. But until recently, the police department's technology was stuck in a time warp.

Enter Chief of Police, Greg Suhr. A 30-year veteran of the SFPD, Suhr was well aware of what the department didn't have (including email for many officers, before Suhr made that happen).

Working with his Chief Technology Officer, former Cisco employee Susan Giffin, they created a search engine called the "Crime Data Warehouse." Among other things, it saves officers the time it takes to track down past police reports, locked away in dusty filing cabinets.

Giffin says the department's lack of tech infrastructure was actually beneficial when it came time to build. "It's a lot easier to implement new, cool technology when you're coming from nothing," she explained.

Suhr, meanwhile is a big fan of using social media (Facebook, Twitter) to help fight crime. "We talk about community policing all the time. This is community policing to the nth degree because of technology."

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John Erlichman is the Senior West Coast Correspondent for Bloomberg Television's Bloomberg West. Watch Bloomberg West weekdays at 3 p.m. PST.