According to Connecticut Public Radio, the Hartford Police Department recently received a grant from the Department of Justice for resources that would reduce violent crime in the city. And the city apparently plans to use those funds to purchase an enterprise version of Slack. Like, the virtual office messaging software. Yes, really.
The idea in Hartford is to replicate Nextdoor and Facebook groups where neighbors can come together and communicate with the police.
For the mayor, Slack presents an innovative way for residents to communicate about what they see in the community. As far as his office knows, this is the first time a police department has used Slack as an outreach tool. Hartford will also use money from the federal grant to fund a range of other initiatives, including hiring case managers to work with at-risk individuals.
"Things like a Slack channel are meant to help enable communication in real time, and sometimes anonymous communication between our community and our police force, so that information can be shared," Bronin said.
A spokesman for the Hartford Police Department declined to comment on its plans for the service. At a public meeting in December, police explained that Slack would allow residents to communicate with them at any time instead of waiting for public meetings.
I mean. Sure.
In the article, WNPR does also speak with a Hartford native who was formerly incarcerated, and has since committed his life to improving his community. He seems skeptical about this approach. As far as his personal experience is concerned, the best way to reduce crime and violence is to … provide people with opportunities that address the desperation that typically drives them to criminal activity in the first place.
Or, ya know, Slackbot reminders. Maybe that'll help. Or at least build up an epic bureaucratic backlog of documentation under the auspices of "transparency" that actually makes it even more difficult to get any clarity from the government agencies that manage the messaging service. YMMV!