Amanda O’Connor, class of 2010, was
selected to fill the position of crime analyst for the Pittsfield Police Department (PPD). The PPD established the position of crime analyst last year, and O’Connor was picked from among more than 50 applicants for the job.
O’Connor began work at the Allen St. police station just before New Year’s Day. “It was a dream come true,” O’Connor said. “I get to do what I want to do and stay in the Berkshires at the same time.”
O’Connor has always considered police work as a potential career path. After graduating from the College, she enlisted in the Army National Guard and spent two years on active duty, which included training in military intelligence. She first reached out to the PPD when she noticed on the College’s website that the Chief of the Department, Michael Wynn, also graduated from the College. From talking with Wynn, O’Connor learned that the PPD was planning on creating the analyst position.
“It’s a job that has a whole bunch of aspects, and it will not be boring,” she said of the post.To learn more about the job, O’Connor met with Wynn and members of Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts who work in other police departments and institutions such as colleges and state agencies.
O’Connor said that she uses data and statistical analysis and computer skills to assist officers in the field. This information helps Wynn and other leaders to manage the force and to develop effective crime-countering strategies. She is also working to broaden the PPD’s electronic connections with other law enforcement entities.
“When I started, I had a whole bunch of ideas,” O’Connor said. “Chief Wynn and I sat down to arrange the priorities. The first thing I did was organize the daily police logs.”
Additionally, O’Connor examines a variety of databases in an attempt to notice trends in crimes that could potentially lead to arrests. O’Connor and Wynn spoke about the job during a recent city Police Advisory Committee meeting.
According to Wynn, O’Connor has had an immediate impact on the PPD by noticing burglary trends, which eventually led to an arrest. By looking at the entire stream of report data from officers, O’Connor is able to find commonalities in crimes, such as a link between three shooting incidents in different areas, that hadn’t been previously recognized.
“It [the job] is engaging, and I am doing something to help the community and people in general, which is something I’ve always wanted to do,” O’Connor said.