Former Teradata exec brings big data to crimefighting

Bruce Langos, then the Teradata chief operations officer, with a bull statue given at the company's New York Stock Exchange launch October 1, 2007. Staff photo by Jim Witmer
Bruce Langos, then the Teradata chief operations officer, with a bull statue given at the company's New York Stock Exchange launch October 1, 2007. Staff photo by Jim Witmer

Thanks to a computer data assessment system built by a former Teradata executive, at the click of an jail mugshot, Montgomery County sheriff’s investigators can gather information that previously took hours to pin down.

The system can tell investigators whether deputies have interviewed a person of interest, whether someone has been charged or convicted, where they have been arrested, with whom they have been associated, where they live or used to live — and answer dozens of other questions thanks to the system built by former Teradata Chief Operations Officer Bruce Langos and his team at the sheriff’s office.

Langos was one of several executives who took Teradata public after a spin-off from NCR more than a decade ago. Teradata built a business on helping customers manage and make sense of massive amounts of data — first on servers, then on the “cloud.”

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Langos left Teradata in early 2016 to to develop and lead a “criminal intelligence center” or “regional crime intelligence system.”

Data draw on dispatch records from numerous agencies, including Dayton, Miami Twp., Huber Heights, Miamisburg, Moraine, Five Rivers Metroparks, Vandalia and others. And the system taps into crime or “incident” records from Butler Twp., Clayton, Huber Heights and many other Montgomery County records.

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The system also pulls license plate reader data from Montgomery, Miami and Clark counties and elsewhere.

On a recent day when Langos showed the system to a visitor, records imported from the previous seven days exceeded 2.1 million license plate reads, 1.4 million dispatches, more than 100 field records or interviews and 200,000 crimes.

Said Langos, “There a lot of data in there.”

But having a lot of data is meaningless without the ability to make sense of it. That’s where Capt. John Magill, of Miami Twp. police, said he is a believer.

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Magill said he can select a person in the system, find out where that person has been field-interviewed or arrested, what vehicles or addresses are associated with that person, crimes or suspects associated with that person, warrant service information and more.

“It shows where those things have a nexus, where they all come together,” he said.

Questions that once took hours of research are now answered instantly.

“What I just got at a click here would take hours to do,” Magill said. “And basically all I did was click on an icon.”

“If you’ve been encountered in a report, or if you were in a vehicle with (a suspect or an interviewee), if you’ve been identified, you’re going to show up here,” Langos said.

The more police can analyze data or recognize patterns, the more efficiently they can perform their jobs, Magill said.

Good policing depends on people and information, he said, and dealing with crime often depends on making the right choices about where to deploy a limited number of investigators and officers.

“It’s really hard to be efficient when you’re searching a dark room without a light on,” Magill said.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, who has worked in the county since 1988, said nothing found in the system will necessarily surprise experienced investigators. But he thinks the system can save valuable time.

This data can be shown in “road rooms” before deputies are deployed at the start of each shift, showing for example, where vehicle thefts or other crimes have happened.

“It shows us where we need to target our resources and concentrate,” said Plummer, who hired Langos in 2016.