The California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) Excellence in Technology Innovation Award is sponsored by the Motorola Company and recognizes a California municipal police agency's superior achievement and innovation in the field of high technology. This award is designed to recognize exceptional, innovative, and extraordinary achievement in law enforcement technology-based programs or initiatives that enhance the overall effectiveness of law enforcement efforts in a jurisdiction. Nominations were judged by a panel of experts from the CPCA technology committee and a representative from the Motorola Company. The following five criteria were used to judge award submissions: technical merit, level of innovation, effectiveness, ability to replicate and overall impact of the program.
This year’s 2016 CPCA Technology Innovation Award was won by the Sacramento Police Department for its cutting edge development and implementation of the Police Observation Devices (POD) program. On March 16, Chief Sam Somers and POD project manager Lieutenant Jason Morgado were on hand to accept the prestigious award for the Department along with members of the High Tech Unit and representatives of the City Utilities Department.
In 2013, the Police Department’s senior leadership inquired into the viability of deploying police surveillance cameras within the City of Sacramento. The only systems available at that time were pre-packaged, not customizable, and cost prohibitive. In 2014, Officers from the High Tech Unit developed a custom, cost-effective surveillance option by building the units in-house. Since then, over 30 PODs have been deployed throughout the City. Many of these devices have incorporated License Plate Reader (LPR) technology to give patrol officers real-time information on stolen and wanted vehicles passing through various intersections or targeted locations.
Since the deployment of the system, PODs have assisted in recovering over 700 stolen vehicles, with the vast majority of incidents resulting in arrests. PODs have also lead to investigative leads or arrests on over 100 felony warrants, wants and missing person locates in the last year. The POD video has assisted in numerous significant criminal investigations including but not limited to vandalisms, robberies, domestic violence, sex trafficking, shootings and homicides.
There are currently plans for 20 more PODs to be produced in the coming year as the program becomes increasingly successful. As word of SPD’s innovative technology spreads, many outside agencies have inquired into the POD program. The selection of the Sacramento Police Department for this prestigious award is a reflection on the creativity, hard work and diligence of the employees of the Department.