AKRON, OH – Akron council is eager to track how its first responders, police and firefighters are performing.
The public body waived the usual second reading Monday and passed legislation to purchase software that will help monitor the behavior of public safety employees, including when, where and how often police officers show up to work late, discharge pepper spray, fire their weapons or damage their cruisers.
The goal, said Charles Brown, deputy mayor of public safety, is not to penalize employees for bad behavior.
“It’s really focused on getting the employees on the right track,” said Brown, who joined police and fire lieutenants Monday afternoon to request $43,000 from City Council to buy the programs.
City administrators will use the money to buy two programs, IAPro and BlueTeam, from software developer CI Technologies, a company that helps public safety managers ensure the integrity of cops and firefighters in more than 600 departments in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
The software will replace hard copy personnel files that make spotting and responding to trends difficult. The ability to rapidly call up data trends — like where, when and how police use force — would allow administrators to respond more quickly to information requests by the public and council.
Ultimately, the programs could be used to drive disciplinary and staffing decisions. “[But] that is so far down the line,” Brown said. “Number one, it’s to help our employees.”
The software, along with activity on the clock, will track tardiness and complaints made by the public or co-workers.
Cleveland put the same software into practice in 2015, drawing concern from the union there at the time.
Akron Police Union President Frank Williams said he had heard that internal affairs, which investigates officer misconduct, had discussed buying the employee-tracking software. But Williams added that he was not part of those conversations.
Brown could not say when the software would be put into use.