Bristol Police Dept. adds new tools and tech

Police rolling out new technology, like a network of private security cameras, new 2020 SUVs, a tipster app, and robust social media

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 1/16/20

The Bristol Police have launched headfirst into the new year, upgrading systems that will impact operations and efficiencies and providing new avenues for positive interactions with the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Bristol Police Dept. adds new tools and tech

Police rolling out new technology, like a network of private security cameras, new 2020 SUVs, a tipster app, and robust social media

Posted

The Bristol Police have launched headfirst into the new year, upgrading systems that will impact operations and efficiencies and providing new avenues for positive interactions with the community.

“We’ve launched several initiatives, bringing the best technological trends that exist in law enforcement to this department,” said Chief Kevin Lynch.

There’s a whole team of personnel involved in the effort, beginning with records clerk Rich Giannini, who handles the department’s social media outreach, including Facebook and Twitter.

“The Chief asked us to incorporate some programs that the City of Cranston has instituted,” he said. “One of these was a registry for people on the autism spectrum. It assists both police and fire. When we interact with people on the autism spectrum, some of whom may be sensitive to loud noises or strobe lights, we can tailor our response to do something that won’t elevate their stress levels.”

A similar registry for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia exists, and the ability to register for both services has been put on the Department’s section of the town website (Bristolri.us).

“We collect a photo of the person with dementia, where they frequent, if they roam, and create a database so if you realize that someone is missing, you can call and we will already have that information at our fingertips.

“Patrol officers can pull that information up in their cruisers, and we won’t waste valuable time,” said Mr. Giannini. “People reunite faster.”

Vacant house checks have also been upgraded to automatically generate alerts at various irregular times, “so we don’t become predictable,” said Capt. Brian Burke.

A camera registry is growing at a steady pace. Residents who have cameras on their properties can register those cameras with the department so they can become a law enforcement tool, in the event that an incident occurs nearby. “A few individuals have registered cameras,” said Capt. Burke. “They are completely voluntary; we are not tapped in in any way, and you can restrict access at any time. It’s just a database so we know where there are private cameras we could access if needed.

“We’ve had many crimes over the past couple of years that have been solved because of cameras, either on a business or home. It streamlines the process and cuts down on the investigation time.”

People who follow the department on social media already may be aware of the #9pm, or 9pm routine. It’s simply a reminder, at 9 p.m. for residents to make sure their doors locked, and their cars are locked. “It prevents crimes of opportunity,” said Mr. Giannini. “We are trying to be more proactive, let people know what’s happening. It’s been very well received, based on feedback on social media.”

Despite all the benefits of social media, residents need to remember that is not the place to make police reports, as it is not monitored 24 hours. If you need the police, or need to file a report, call the Department at 401/253-6900, or 911 if it’s an emergency.

New vehicles on the road

Lt. Roman Wozny is the department’s fleet manager, and they’re enjoying a couple of significant asset upgrades — an unmarked car and a marked patrol car — both 2020 Ford Explorers. “We’re one of the first to have these 2020 models, with all new safety features, with updated graphics, better lights and reflective surfaces,” he said, of the vehicles with 10-speed transmissions and built in moving radar. “These vehicles are on the road, in service.”

“The unmarked vehicle will be used to monitor traffic, noise issues, and observe and monitor quality of life complaints,” said Capt. Brian Burke.

Another upgrade? The fleet, and in fact all the department’s assets, will be managed via a cloud-based asset management app which monitors registrations, service, expirations, and other relevant time and maintenance-sensitive issues.

Going paperless

Internally, big changes are happening that will free up officers for more community police work. “We always kept track of everything on paper,” said Sgt. Brian Morse. That’s all coming to an end, this month. They’ve invested in new computer systems that handle everything from detail tracking to billing to assigning overtime. The DTS — Detail Tracking System — was developed by police officers.

“It’s a big transition for us. We have a new employee coming in tomorrow, and in the past, it would take us hours to do the scheduling. Now this program will do it for us.

“It’s going to free up a lot of man hours.”

Tipsters will have a new tool

Tip 411 is another app-based technology upgrade which will invite community participation. The department can both push out and solicit information on this platform, and residents can send tips to the department, completely anonymously, and communicate with detectives.

“It’s an incredible system,” said Sgt. Morse. "If you sign up for the app, you’ll get notifications from us, silver alerts, crime maps. It’s being paid for by the East Bay Regional Coalition; the company is building us an app which will hopefully be done by the first week in February, then we are going to have a big roll-out campaign.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about the way this works. I think people will really enjoy it.”

“Again, it’s not a means to file a report,” said Capt. Burke. “This is just for those instances where someone sees something that doesn’t seem right.”

More information on the Tip 411 app will be provided when the program is ready for implementation, in the next month or so.

Chief Lynch credits much of the Department’s ability to execute new technology on the strength of his predecessors. “I inherited a strong foundation,” he said. “It’s my job to take that foundation and continue to build up.”

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.