Provo Police Conduct Operation at Downtown Motels

PROVO – New intelligence software acquired by the Provo Police Department earlier this year helped officers zero in on troubled areas of the city over the weekend.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday officers conducted a “knock and talk” operation at three downtown Provo motels. Provo police Sgt. Brandon Post said the officers showed up, talked to anyone they saw, then knocked on doors looking for anything suspicious. Officers visited the Best Motel, City Center Motel and Knights Motel, Post said, because police had received a disproportionate number of calls from those businesses.

Police arrested one person on an outstanding warrant and contacted several people on probation and parole.

According to Post, police were able to target the motels as a result of the department's new Spillman Technologies software system. The department acquired the software earlier this year, and Post explained that each time an incident occurs the system records an array of data.

“It's data-driven policing,” Post said. “We pull out the data and turn it into intelligence.”

Post said past systems were useful for gathering data, but not for turning it into useful information. The Spillman system also allows officers to cross-check records with other departments and potentially identify criminals who move between police jurisdictions.

That ability is especially useful, Post added, when conducting a knock and talk operation. He said that while the targeted motels are used mostly by law-abiding people, some criminals gravitate to the business from Utah Valley cities and elsewhere. Post speculated that the criminals take up in motels because it gives them a degree of anonymity.

Post said officers also work with motel owners and managers. The department has conducted roughly five similar operations in the past and as a result some businesses cease to be trouble spots.

Representatives from the three motels did not immediately return phone calls early Monday afternoon.