Edmonton Police Services: Better Policing Through Business A
Author: Wendy Feldman
Publication Date: 2012

Edmonton experienced an economic boom in the 1990s and with that very high crime rates. Media coverage of the city was intense, and Edmonton citizens, politicians and the Edmonton Police Services sought new solutions to the challenge of high crime rates. In 2001 the Edmonton Police Services (EPS) initiated research around intelligence-led policing based on New York's Comstat and ILP best practices out of the UK, and decided they needed to move in that direction. The leadership of the Edmonton Police Services addressed the immediate situation with improved data management programs. In 2004-2005, the EPS realized the need for analytics to support its Record Management System. Then in 2006, it took the business transformation to another level, using Business Intelligence (BI). Business Analytics, based on the development of ComStat in the US and the UK, were applied to this fast-growing Canadian city through IBM Cognos software. The result was a major transformation for this organizations' deployment of resources, improved effectiveness and a shift from crime solving to crime prevention.

The EPS leveraged international research, best operational policing practices and new business analytics leading to a focus on the reduction of crime and victimization, increased professionalism, improved efficiency and effectiveness and an ability to refocus on a citizen centered model of policing.

This initiative demonstrates the relationship between the operating culture and outcomes, the need for internal cohesion in basic values, and the role of analytical information in decision-making. It also shows the need for senior leadership and managerial focus on core cultural values to address its major challenge: the reduction of both violent and property crime and social disorder. What was the role of the Edmonton Police Services in seeking an IT solution to a crime problem? What were the operational changes needed to apply this software? What could other police and public services learn from this experience?
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