NCJTC Announces Big Data and Facial Recognition Training
Program will be an industry-first
Fox Valley Technical College’s National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) is entering into an innovative partnership to build and pilot an industry-first foundational course to train law enforcement in the understanding and ethical use of big data and facial recognition for critical investigations.
The NCJTC and Biometrica Systems, Inc., a big data and software company focused on public safety, risk mitigation, and child protection, will work together on the course, which will focus on fundamentals like understanding data and data privacy, creating case-use guidelines for facial recognition, ensuring accountability and preventing human bias.
“Our core mission has always been to deliver innovative training and technical assistance solutions to combat public safety and community challenges,” said Brad Russ, executive director of NCJTC. “Two of those challenges today are to strengthen trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, while also leveraging technology in an ethical and responsible manner. This partnership combines our expertise in training and Biometrica’s expertise in using big data and facial recognition in support of public safety to build this new course.”
The technology is expected to assist with investigations of all kinds, including crimes related to missing, exploited and abused children. But it requires training and guidelines.
“You don’t give an officer a firearm without proper training, reinforced by use-of-force policies that define acceptable use under a range of circumstances,” Brad explained. “It should work the same way with technology-based tools and information. Give them the tools they need to improve their investigative capabilities in a tech-dominated world, but after they have been trained in the proper use of those tools.”
Wyly Wade, chief executive officer at Biometrica calls the partnership a natural collaboration for both. “We work on big data, use facial recognition, and see the tremendous good it can do, especially in the world of child safety or vulnerable adult protection, if used correctly. But the use of any technology by untrained practitioners, without accountability and guidelines, could have terrible consequences, even if unintended.” He said Biometrica hoped to help prevent this.
The pilot training program for law enforcement will kick off in Appleton and Phoenix in August and September.