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Former Forensic Logic CEO Bradford Davis Isn't Done With Gov Tech

After stepping away from a decade of public safety technology leadership, Davis will write about challenges in law enforcement while eyeing a return to the industry. He describes what the public safety future might hold.

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When it comes to public safety — one of the main pillars of government technology — it all comes down to helping law enforcement officers make better decisions.

That is among the foremost thoughts of Bradford Davis, the former CEO of public safety technology vendor Forensic Logic, as he leaves that company behind.

He steps away from the gov tech space after a decade leading Forensic Logic, which last year was acquired by ShotSpotter. That company now operates Forensic Logic’s COPLINK X search and analytics engine for law enforcement agencies, to go with ShotSpotter’s well-known acoustic gunshot detection technology.

In an interview with Government Technology, Davis said he intends to spend more time with his family — a wife and three children — while also working on a book with former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who held that office between 2014 and 2018.

Davis wouldn’t give away too many details of that project but said it would focus on the state of American policing, and rely not only on his own involvement in public safety via technology but the “internal reform” experiences of McDonnell. As he described it, the book will offer an overview about policing in this era of anti-police protests and calls for more law enforcement transparency, along with policy ideas.

“We are taking a very broad look at some of the deep challenges that face law enforcement — a lot of the things that are making the job of the police officer very difficult,” he said.

Davis said he anticipates returning to public safety tech after finishing that project.

When he started with Forensic Logic, which contracted with several governments to provide cloud, search engine and analysis tools, it “was a very small company” that grew from seven employees to “many, many dozens. We built a pretty good mousetrap.”

If he does indeed return to gov tech — talking with him leaves little doubt he will — he will not only focus on innovation but tackling public safety technology issues from the point of view of law enforcement professionals.

“Bringing innovation to the government is a very difficult task,” he said. “But once it seeps into your bones, you see the rewards. Putting away bad people who victimize good people is not a reward I see everywhere else.”

At Forensic Logic, he said the company “maintained a focus on officers, always a focus on the end user, and the patience to see that through.” And given that police have “good BS detectors,” he said, any technology made for them must really serve their needs — not the needs of the engineers and marketers behind the products.

Such ideals will keep with him in the coming years, he said, especially if he returns to gov tech. Indeed, those guiding principles might prove to be even more important for the future of public safety tech in the near future, as it promises to play bigger roles in recruiting and retaining law enforcement professionals.

“No millennial has ever ordered a pizza on a two-way radio,” is how he put it.

The key is to find ways to match the technological sophistication of, say, the younger people entering police academies while also taking into account the larger needs of a department and community with technology deployments.

“Everyone, everybody, wants to help officers make better decisions,” he said.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in New Orleans.