Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has lost a powerful tool that is used to keep officers safe when responding to crimes, as Fresno’s City Council voted unanimously to discontinue funding for the “Beware” program, made by the Intrado company.
“We were torn,” said Fresno City Councilmember Steve Brandau. “Because we want to give the police the tools that they need , but the public has the right to transparency and to understand what’s going on.”
Beware is a data mining software program that police say will help keep officers safe.
“It’s designed to access automatically various databases that are really public domain type databases, where anyone can access that information.” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer previously, as the police chief gave a tour of the Real Time Crime Center. The software combines data from billions of public records, and then uses an algorithm to assign a threat assessment to a specific resident, alerting officers to possible danger.
Dyer said he is not ready to give up on the technology.
“Unfortunately, there are still some concerns out there and understandably so. We’re going to have some more meetings, try to vet this thing a little bit further.” said Dyer, who went on to say that in the long run, Beware can protect officers, as well as the public.
“The more information we can provide them, the better they are to be able to make an informed decision so that they don’t make a mistake.” said Dyer.
Meanwhile, Councilmember Brandau said Beware was putting the Fresno Police Department in the national spotlight.
“there was a national news article in the Washington Post about Fresno and this software.” said Brandau. Brandau said he is confident the software will be approved, if public sentiment can be swayed.