Tasmania Police’s Todd Crawford has been crowned the inaugural State and Local Government CIO of the year in recognition of his gutsy work equipping the state’s police force with tablets.
Crawford displayed strategic nous and an ability to think outside of the box in designing the scheme, which strikes dual ambitions of mobilising officers and making them more efficient, while addressing persistent budget cuts.
The scheme has seen 1000 Windows 8 devices handed to Tasmanian officers, making sure they can maximise their time on the beat in the face of workforce reductions. It was delivered under the scheme’s already modest budget.
What set this project apart at a time when many police forces around the country and the world are embarking on similar mobility initiatives, was the agile decision-making showcased throughout the implementation.
Examples include extracting value early in pilot stages by trialling the devices with new recruits at the police academy, who could also use them straight away for e-learning, and allowing officers to take their machines home to charge them rather than investing in hundreds of charging docks.
The rollout has also allowed Tasmania Police to rationalise the number of Microsoft operating system licences it is paying for, as it phases out desktop PCs in computer rooms.
Two years on from the pilot, and with the Acer Iconia devices now in police hands, Crawford and the team are looking for new ways to capitalise in the new technological capability.
"This is a very unexpected award and, I thought, a very simple tech project," Crawford said.
"But, obviously, others have seen the tech innovation and how allowing the workforce to do what they want, when they want, how they want it, has driven innovation."
Other finalists in the category included Service NSW’s Colin Jones, who has been reconised for his work on the agency’s contact centre virtualisation, and his NSW government colleague David Schneider from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, who seized upon an office move as an opportunity to adopt activity-based working.