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El Cajon police want public ideas

To help the El Cajon Police Department in a pilot project to maximize the effectiveness of existing police department staff, the city’s smart initiative El Cajon 2.O is requesting Request for Innovation. Its interest is ways to utilize artificial intelligence, drones, sensors, other new technology to improve the police department’s efficiency in its ability to respond to calls, be alerted when crime is suspected in a public space, or to aid in the investigation of reported crimes.

IT Director Sara Diaz said that the Request for Innovation is part of the city’s process for community, vendor, and stakeholder involvement in its Smart City process and in this case, it is focusing on public safety, ideas that will make the police more efficient, or make the community feel safer.

“City employees may know what they need but there are also people in the community that may have great ideas for new ways that we might accomplish our strategic goals,” she said. “We are putting out this request. Anyone can participate and give us ideas that we can explore as a city, to see if they can implement.”

Diaz said it is like a Request for Proposal for ideas, just a little less formal, and that the objective is to collect ideas, present them before a committee and see if any resonate or that are implementable.

“The idea is to go from this step to then finding solutions to see if we can pilot them or try them out for a short period of time and see if they really make an impact,” she said. “If so, then we start figuring out how to budget and pay for these things long term.”

Diaz said the idea with the Smart City is to cast a “wider net for ideas.”

“There may be ideas that we may not have thought of,” said Diaz. “That does not mean that they are not valid or not implementable. Those ideas could come from someone in the community who may know how someone is tackling the same problem in another part of the country, or another part of the world. It could be a vendor that has a new product that we have not heard about. All of these are opportunities for us to expand our horizon and think about how we protect the public.”

Diaz, who designed the system, said it is a new way to get ideas in, and she likes the ideas of pilots.

“In city procurement things can get quite expensive,” she said. “And, you do not even know if it is going to work in the end. What we are doing by casting the net wide and starting small pilot projects is double checking that a system does everything that is says it is going to do, and everything that we need it to do before we make those big investments. I think it is a way to be smarter with the limited funds that we have as a city.”

Submissions are due by Aug. 23 by visiting Planet Bids Systems at

To learn more, visit the El Cajon 2.0 homepage at

El Cajon police want public ideas

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Source: East County Californian

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