police car lights



The Arizona State University Smart City Cloud Innovation Center Powered by AWS (ASU CIC) recently collaborated with the City of Albuquerque Police Department to apply Amazon’s Working Backwards Innovation process to help streamline the Department’s data use. Albuquerque, New Mexico is the 32nd largest city in the United States with a population of almost 550,000 residents.


Today the Albuquerque Police Department has to track down data, then gain access and import it to one of the many systems used for daily operations. The existence of several databases and disjointed systems, which are owned by different departments, makes getting data reliably time consuming.  Due to the volatile nature of non-virtualized databases and legacy applications the police force has put in place work-arounds for some of their data needs. These practices are both inefficient and on occasion ineffective for getting the right data at the right time.


Representatives from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the real time crime center, detectives office, emergency management, and the analytics team were convened to identify the underlying problem and work backwards from the customer to design a sustainable solution.

The ASU CIC innovation workshop fosters creative ideas through various design thinking and customer empathy exercises. This initial workshop provided the guidance and direction necessary for attendees to outline the problem, brainstorm a solution and begin articulating a vision for a new data lake nicknamed the “Duke City Heartbeat” by the day's contributors. The team continued their engagement with a solution workshop that dove deeper into the design and architecture of the data lake solution and corresponding controls, governance and integrations required to ultimately scale this solution across the Police Department.       

Workshop participant activities culminated in a solution that places data in the center of all operating systems by formalizing one central repository to house data sources from all departments. This allows both legacy systems and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to pull data from a single source of truth. 

Supporting Artifacts

The Amazon Working Backwards process produces three artifacts - a Press Release, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and a Visual depiction of the user experience. You can find the Albuquerque artifacts here::

Next Steps

The Albuquerque PD has used the prototype developed by the ASU CIC to create a solution. The data lake was created using AWS tools and is being used to help the Albuquerque PD reduce crime. 

About the ASU CIC

The ASU Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) is a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is supported by AWS on ASU’s Innovation campus - SkySong. The mission of the CIC is to drive Innovation Challenges that materially benefit the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond. The CIC will do this by solving pressing community and regional challenges, using shareable and repeatable technology solutions from ideation through prototype, as a service for the greater human good.

The CIC also provides real-world problem-solving experiences to students by immersing them in the application of proven innovation methods in combination with the latest technologies to solve important challenges in the public sector. 

The challenges being addressed cover a wide variety of topics including homelessness, water conservation, vandalism, pedestrian safety, digital service delivery and many others. The CIC leverages the deep subject matter expertise of government, education and non-profit organizations to clearly understand the customers affected by public sector challenges and develops solutions that meet the customer needs.

For more information on the ASU CIC, to read about projects or to submit a challenge, please visit https://smartchallenges.asu.edu.


a cop car with visible lights
police desk with files and typewriter