Mesa police are asking the City Council today to approve a crime-fighting program that can be described as a sophisticated form of Google.
Upon City Council approval, Mesa would spend $401,907 for the Internet database system known as COPLINK. According to police Chief George Gascón, the data mining program would allow officers to spend seconds finding leads that in the past took thousands of hours.
“This is critical in our ability to enhance our crimefighting strategies,” Gascón said.
The police chief, who has worked to increase the department’s technological capabilities with crime-fighting programs such as CompStat — a tool that tracks crime trends and statistics — said he will attempt to bring more East Valley agencies on board with COPLINK.
Gascón said the program could be operating in Mesa by mid-summer.
COPLINK was originally developed by the University of Arizona and the Tucson Police Department, according to the Web site for the Tucson-based company, Knowledge Computing.
Through Internet searches, police can use suspect information such as vehicle descriptions or license plate numbers to develop leads, Gascón said.
The searches highlight connections to other pieces of information and lists that information in order of priority or relevance to the search, Gascón said.
The findings can identify the registered owner of a vehicle, provide arrest records of that person and tell police if he or she has been interviewed by authorities. The purchase would be funded through asset forfeiture funds, which are restricted for police purchases.