Windsor police test locally-made 'tech boxes' on bicycle fleet

Windsor police officers on bikes in a 2017 file photo. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

Windsor police are piloting locally-developed technology on its bike fleet, something the force's director of technology services says will provide real-time information on the location of officers.

Matt Caplin said the technology, dubbed "tech boxes," is similar to what's found in police vehicles and will also provide greater information to help police with deployment of officers.

"Our officers are already highly connected. This is just another layer of connectivity that provides us with greater insights into officer activity, proximity and availability to deploy them," Caplin told CBC News.

"[The technology] allows us through networking to have an understanding of where the bicycles are through GPS and vehicle location technology."

The technology tracks the path of the bike throughout its entire shift, allowing the Windsor police to match that information to where the calls for service led the responding officer or officers, Caplin said.

The technology was developed by local firm Monerus in a one-year pilot project with the Windsor Police Service.

"That's what I'm most proud of, is being able to work with a local company like Monerus who's introducing … new police technologies," Caplin said.

"It's great to be able to work with a local company on this [technology] that provides us with some help and insights and it provides them with valuable real time feedback as they develop their product."

Helping early stage startups

Adam Castle, director of venture services and partnerships with WEtech Alliance, says his organization works with innovators and tech-based companies in the region, helping them get their technology into the hands of customers.

"Partnerships like this that we've been able to leverage with [WPS and Monerus] is absolutely instrumental in helping these early stage startups to really get their foot in the door with a big, good first customer," Castle said on Afternoon Drive.

"It can't be sort of overstated how important that is, because what it does is it provides a test bed for this technology … to sort of get out there and get real data back to the entrepreneurs that are running this stuff so that they can build it better and really make it more tailor fit."

Monerus co-founder and project manager Khalid Saad said in a news release that the company is looking to revolutionize urban policing with their tech-enhanced bicycles.