Firearm bail tracking app scores Whitby police officer a provincal innovation award

By

Published June 14, 2023 at 2:44 pm

A Durham Regional Police officer has been honoured for his contributions to the development of a dashboard app his fellow officers use to track offenders with firearms convictions who are out on bail.

The app, the Provincial Offenders Dashboard, was developed co-operatively between Det. Cst. Shaun Hildebrand with Toronto Police and Det. Sgt. Rob Williamson of the Durham Regional Police Service.

According to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), Hildebrand approached Williamson with the idea to share Toronto’s data on convicts out on bail with Durham police. This in turn led to a more fulsome collaboration between the two neighbouring services.

The pair realized criminals were playing the jurisdictional boundary between Scarborough and Pickering to their advantage. In an effort to stop this practice, the pair got to work on developing a rear time information sharing platform.

The goal was for this to evolve into a platform through which all police services could share data in real-time directly to the in-cruiser computers. Toronto police shared its data with Durham police in 2021 allowing Durham to build its own dashboard. The following year the two networks were integrated into one resource used by both services.

In October last year, more than 1,100 people had been displayed on the app, 400 of whom live outside of Toronto. The number has since risen to 1,600 listed offenders. Not only does the program aid in checking bail compliance, Toronto police said, it has also helped identify violent offenders. Such cases include a man wanted in a York Region kidnapping, a man wanted for murder in Toronto and a suspect wanted in a carjacking.

“This innovative and the first of its kind in Canada approach breaks down geographic barriers, fosters a collaborative approach to policing across jurisdictions, and ultimately led to increased officer and community safety. It has provided frontline officers access to real-time situational awareness, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and assisting in effective and objective resource allocation in addressing bail compliance and recidivism,” the OACP wrote.

As such the OACP awarded Hildebrand and Williamson with the 2023¬†OACP Excellence in Information Technology Services Award, given in recognition of a “game changer” in policing developed with technology.

Both Toronto and Durham police are continuing their work to expand the program to other services across Ontario.

Durham police congratulated Williamson on his achievement saying, “Your hard work on the Provincial Offenders Dashboard has led to increased officer and community safety beyond the boundaries of Durham Region, and we thank you.”

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies