Schenectady police eye new smartphone tech

Software will ideally improve communication
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford is pictured.
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford is pictured.

SCHENECTADY — City police hope new technology will help bolster communication between officers. 

The department aims to deploy new smartphone software called Street Smart, which is designed to provide real-time data for officers on patrol. 

Officers will be able to access data feeds, maps, discussion boards and other tools, including information on crimes that have occurred within a designated time frame. 

“It’s a good way to communicate with police officers,” said Chief Eric Clifford, who asked City Council’s Public Safety Committee for approval to purchase the software on Monday. 

Department brass flagged costs at $89,000, which would be covered by grant funding previously approved by lawmakers in 2018.

“We anticipate all of this to be paid for by the grant,” Assistant Chief Michael Seber said. 

Maintenance is estimated to cost $24,000 annually, or about $150 for each of the department’s 160 officers.

The department said in a memo it aims to integrate 25 years of data into the software that can be used by first responders in a “manageable, actionable way.”

Officials hope the result will be faster arrests, as well as the ability to patch into software previously deployed by the city Codes Department. 

“All these will link up at some point,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy.

Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester are also examining use of the software by the El Segundo, California-based company, McCarthy said. 

“It’s just better management of resources at the city Police Department,” he said.

The request passed out of committee and requires a full City Council vote next Monday. 

If approved, Clifford estimated rollout within four months. But that window could shift depending on information technology crews, he said. 

The pitch comes months after lawmakers approved the purchase of gunshot detection technology that will be eventually be outfitted in select crime-prone neighborhoods. 

That technology has not yet been deployed, Clifford said. 

But the city is making progress on building out what McCarthy envisions will be a citywide Wi-Fi network. 

Workers are now installing access points along Crane Street. 

“What I want to do with the Crane Street deployment is use it as a test bed for partnership with the school district,” McCarthy said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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