March 1, 2004 By Government Technology
Boyd said his family is his most treasured accomplishment, followed by his 20 years of service in the Army and his creation of the Office of Science and Technology and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.
-- Jim McKay, justice editor
Chief of Police
When William Bratton was appointed New York City police commissioner in 1994, he inherited a city of violence. By 1998, murders plunged from 1,946 to 629, and serious crimes dropped 39 percent. This drop was part of a national trend, but New York's decline was three times the national average. Part of the reason is CompStat.
CompStat is a system of computerizing and mapping crime data that Bratton helped develop. The system tracks where and why crimes occur, and increases accountability for solving them. It has since overlapped other government areas and provides a platform to make city employees more accountable for effective and efficient service delivery.
Now chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Bratton enlisted CompStat to tackle an entrenched culture of violent gangs. With more resources, he hopes to make Los Angeles the country's safest large city.
"We know what to do about crime now. What's behind it all is the technology -- what originally started with push pins and flip charts," he said. "New York had a ton of cops, and with CompStat, we could hit a lot of different problems at the same time. Here, once I get beyond what's assigned to the various areas, I don't have much in the way of resources."
It will be a monumental task in Los Angeles, but Bratton supporters say no man is better for the job. In 1983, he became chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department. In three years, violent crimes there fell 37 percent.
From 1990 through 1991, Bratton was chief and senior vice president for the New York City Transit Authority Police Department. During that time, subway crime fell 50 percent.
-- Jim McKay, justice editor
City Manager Darlene Burcham played a key role in making Roanoke, Va., one of the nation's most tech-savvy cities. Roanoke is the only municipality to rank first in the Center for Digital Government's annual Digital Cities Survey in the 75,000-125,000 population category for three years running, from 2001 to 2003.
Innovations include free downtown wireless Internet access for public use, regional public kiosk access to promote the Roanoke Valley, and City Council webcasting.
In part, the Digital Cities award reflects Mayor Ralph Smith and the City Council's commitment to using IT to improve service delivery to residents and create a high-tech environment for local businesses. But it is the City Manager's Office that develops strategies to implement the City Council's vision for the future.
When Burcham became city manager in 2000, technology was not embraced by the city's administration.
"It wasn't seen as an activity that benefited the whole organization," she said. "It had primarily been geared to financial systems."
That quickly changed.
"I have some of the most talented people in technology you can imagine," she added. "They have sparked the enthusiasm of this organization so that technology is not just led by one part of the organization. It is part of the philosophy of the whole organization."
But this wasn't always the case. During her first couple of years, there was the usual resistance to change. She maintains that you need to approach existing culture in the right way
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