September 2009
Publication:
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

One Week in Heron City follows Chief Laura Harrison's through her first week on the job in this fictional city of 400,000. We invite you to eavesdrop and see how law enforcement agencies might eliminate pre-established mentalities and see problems in a new light. Chief Harrison enters a city: 1) Where the sense of safety has been shattered by the brutal, unsolved murder of a young mother who had repeatedly told police she was being followed. 2) Experiencing a rash of high-end car thefts that few people are concerned about because of excellent insurance payouts. 3) Whose public health department is preparing for a possible flu pandemic and wants to know what services the police can offer. Chief Harrison discovers that progress is slow made despite all the department's problem-solving efforts — Compstat, intelligence-led and evidence-based policing, community policing. When Nigel Jewett, a junior IT analyst with a background in marine biology, approaches Chief Harrison and offers his fresh perspective on data analysis, she realizes that breaking out of the boundaries of standard policing practices might be the key to solving the city's problems.