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New Technology Helps Aurora First Responders

New Technology Helps Aurora First Responders
Posted on 04/04/2024
Overhead view of Aurora Municipal Center campus with overlay of ForceMetrics logo

The city of Aurora is deploying a new, unique data technology called ForceMetrics, a mobile-first platform that enables public safety and community services professionals to make data-driven decisions in real time. The enhanced use of existing data across several city departments is yielding a greater understanding of community needs and improved, safer outcomes for community members and public servants alike.

The power of ForceMetrics is its ability to combine many separate, existing city databases into a single shared resource, unifying information for rapid access and easy understanding.

“Aurora is one of the most uniquely diverse cities in the nation,” said Jason Batchelor, Aurora City Manager. “ForceMetrics opens the lines of communication and empathy for our public safety and community service responders who frequently interact with the most vulnerable community members. We are now able to quickly access a more complete assessment of an individual or property, using our own data.”

The city departments that are currently utilizing ForceMetrics are Aurora911, the Aurora Police Department (APD) and the Code Enforcement and Crisis Intervention divisions within the Housing and Community Services Department. So far, ForceMetrics is helping Aurora911 to be more efficient in its call management, providing a tool for police officers to make more informed decisions and giving crisis response staff a better understanding of the volume and circumstances of mental health-related calls throughout the city.

ForceMetrics CEO and Colorado native Andre McGregor founded the platform in 2020 centered on the core belief: safety starts with understanding.

“It’s like Google meets Zillow for their data,” said McGregor, who was born in Denver and has since returned to live there to manage ForceMetrics. “As a local, I am incredibly proud to partner with Aurora and be part of the city’s continued innovation. Now they can utilize added safety and social needs information while responding to issues at hand.”

Aurora911 was the first city department to launch ForceMetrics with its entire staff. Emergency communications specialists can search and access vital safety, mental health and historical information in seconds rather than hours, improving the accuracy and appropriateness of resource deployment. Aurora911 is also utilizing the platform to monitor employee exposure to traumatic stress, providing support to 911 professionals who have handled high-acuity events.

“Aurora911 is incredibly proud to have fully integrated ForceMetrics into our operations,” said Tina Buneta, Aurora911 Director. “As a department that receives more than 600,000 calls annually, ForceMetrics provides us with the insights necessary to ensure no member of our team must deal with the aftermath of tough calls alone. 911 professionals must accurately gather, decipher, summarize and act on the information a caller shares within seconds. ForceMetrics helps us quickly evaluate critical information to better prescribe response, and guide field responders with contextual information that helps them understand the bigger picture. It empowers us to meet people where they are and provide them with the most appropriate resources while also supporting the safety of both residents and field responders.”

An Aurora911 emergency communications specialist cited an incident in which ForceMetrics helped save a woman’s life when she was having a stroke and could not tell them where she lived. Her phone's GPS centered on a large apartment complex. The 911 call taker was able to identify the woman’s address and apartment number by searching her phone number in ForceMetrics across the city's public safety systems. The phone number thankfully appeared in an Aurora Fire Rescue database from a previous interaction, allowing the call taker to accurately identify the address without having officers randomly knock on residents’ doors.

Police departments across the country are crediting ForceMetrics for serving warrants, tracking group-motivated crimes via social media, identifying suspects and victims and generally cutting down on tenuous research time.

“The Aurora Police Department has been committed in recent years to leveraging technology to enhance operational capabilities and modernize our response,” said Aurora Police Department Interim Chief Heather Morris. “ForceMetrics provides our officers with instant access to data and information. The more informed our officers are on the streets, the better equipped they will be to make decisions to keep themselves and the community safe.”

Integrating ForceMetrics into APD’s work coincides with the recent launch of another new technology that will provide certain Aurora911 callers with regular updates about their calls for service and ongoing investigations. The new platform automatically sends customized text messages, emails and mobile-friendly surveys to Aurora911 callers and victims of crimes to keep them informed about the status of their call for service or an ongoing investigation. ForceMetrics has also helped the Crisis Intervention Team, which collaborates with Aurora’s Department of Housing and Community Services, evaluate its staffing and shift configurations.

Cities, departments, and security teams rely on ForceMetrics to provide rapid access to vital information to mitigate risks, tackle social challenges and serve their communities more effectively and efficiently. The adoption of ForceMetrics comes at a time when public safety agencies across the country are understaffed, budget-constrained and asked to assume greater responsibility within the community to keep people safe.

The city of Aurora was the first in Colorado to launch the technology, and now Castle Rock, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, and Jefferson County are using ForceMetrics. Its use will continue to expand nationwide, as Greensboro, North Carolina and Waco, Texas are also using the technology.

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