MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Just days after police used technology to “ping” a stolen cellphone and track a group of robbers, Mount Vernon officials have entered into a partnership between the city and Microsoft to increase public safety.
On Tuesday, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas announced Project Bright Knight - named after the school's mascot - a collaboration with Microsoft to acquire and utilize new technology and tools to combat crime.
Thomas said that the technological initiative will “foster a unique partnership with the city and Microsoft.”
Phase one of the proposal includes investments to develop a mobile, community-based application that would allow users to report events and situations in real-time. Other investments include $200,000 in funding for video monitoring equipment, $60,000 in smartphones for the entire department, an investment in training and drone technology and $300,0000 in license plate readers.
The total initial immediate investment is an estimated $700,000.
In a statement, Michael Donlan, Vice President of the Public Sector at Microsoft Corporation said, "Microsoft is proud to work with Mayor Thomas and the City of Mount Vernon on their digital transformation for public safety that will help to drive a safer community."
According to Thomas, since entering office he has “repeatedly requested funding for public safety, which has been rejected.” He said he is exercising his executive authority to execute phase one of the technological transformation.
“My administration is committed to investments in public safety technology. Modern technology has made 21st century policing more efficient, more collaborative and given better results,” he stated. “The people of Mount Vernon deserve a police force that is equipped with the tools necessary to get the job done and, as Mayor, I will not rest until the department is fully supported.
“I am encouraged by Microsoft’s willingness to step forward and assist Mount Vernon with designing technology solutions to meet our needs. The cameras and applications are all designed with the community in mind. I am proud to have Microsoft as part of the team to bridge the gap on both sides of the badge.”