AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

San Diego Sheriff’s Department explores IT system modernization with local hackathon to deliver better services to communities

San Diego Law Enforcement agencies have been seeking new ways to approach some of their biggest challenges with technology. By building in the cloud, they hope to improve their ability to respond to incidents, log and analyze information, speed up investigations, and save lives.

Slalom, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) premier consulting partner, hosted a two-day hackathon that brought in technologists to build creative technical solutions to address the challenges faced by this community. Using AWS, the attendees accessed reference architectures and tools to create more effective processes for managing and securing law enforcement data.

“Having the opportunity to be immersed with experts with deep understanding of cloud technology opened our eyes to how we can improve the accessibility and performance of our systems, keep our officers informed, and provide better services to our communities,” said Yosh Kakkad, CIO, San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

The hackathon brought in participants from local San Diego law enforcement, students from San Diego State University, and AWS partners, Slalom and Soma Global, to build solutions to alleviate some of the pains faced by law enforcement. Kakkad added that “without activities like these and collaborations with industry leaders, we would not have otherwise had the opportunity to really understand the potential of new technology.”

Combining the expertise of industry, local students, and law enforcement technologists allowed for an open environment to discuss how technology can improve processes and make critical information more available to the people who need it. The solutions give agencies real-time access to data that improves knowledge and visibility of the situation and allows them to connect with key resources for drug intervention, social services, medical concerns, or other necessary groups.

“This platform was completely new to us before this hackathon,” said Siavash Namazi, Supervising Information Technology Engineer, San Diego Sheriff’s Department. “Once we got our hands on the services, we were quickly able to find the right fit for our skills and build a ‘proof of concept’ in less than two days.”

By accessing this data in the cloud, participants built an architecture that measures and identifies key data points and allows for better transparency. Namazi added, “Our ability to accomplish our goal is a testament to the promise of cloud-based architectures that make it possible to rapidly validate potentially lifesaving applications without upfront capital expenses.”

AWS and its network of innovative partners build solutions that work backward from the key issues facing the customer. By understanding what San Diego Law Enforcement was trying to accomplish, teams were able to apply cloud architecture and tools to build a cloud-based intake process with high visibility in mind.

“The SOMA team has always worked closely with law enforcement to develop meaningful solutions to solve their pressing issues,” said Peter Quintas, CEO and Founder of Soma Global. “The Slalom event was a fun venue to interact with real users, use cases, and rapidly prototype solutions for immediate feedback. Law enforcement and first responders will benefit from more innovation and events like this.”

The hackathon gave technologists access to tools like Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to apply new techniques to their data and officer communications in the field. The cloud allows them to build, test, and validate potentially lifesaving applications with more flexibility and without the upfront capital expense of on-premises data storage.

Learn more about AWS for law enforcement.