When a high-speed chase on an interstate highway in Alpharetta, Ga., resulted in the arrest of a suspect with seven felony
warrants, residents credited the work of a fast-acting police officer. Little did they know that a mild-mannered CIO was also
to thank for nabbing the dangerous offender.
More on CIO.com
Chicago Police Department Uses IT to Fight Crime, Wins Grand CIO Enterprise Value Award 2004
Meet John Albers, CIO at Ronald Blue, a financial management firm with approximately $5 billion in investment assets. As CIO,
Albers and his team ensure around-the-clock IT security, network operations, software development and media and project
management. But that hasn’t stopped this volunteer firefighter from helping the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety (ADPS) roll out an
arsenal of innovative crime-fighting tools.
“I’ve always had a knack for technology, but it’s in my blood to serve other people and give back,” says Albers. In 2006, he
combined these passions by helping launch the Alpharetta Public Safety
Foundation (APSF), a nonprofit group to raise funds, create programs and offer technical assistance to improve public
Albers and the APSF have spearheaded several high-tech projects including the Mobile Plate Hunter 100, which nabbed the
interstate-fleeing suspect. The MPH 100 is a $25,000 computer imaging system with infrared cameras that are mounted on a
police car. The portable unit captures 1,500 license plates per minute and cross-references them against five national law
enforcement databases. If there’s a match—red flags range from stolen vehicles to suspended drivers licenses—the
system notifies the police officer. Only after Albers and other foundation members personally evaluated and tested the device
did the APSF purchase it on behalf of the ADPS. He still assists and troubleshoots any network challenges that arise from
daily updates to the system’s database.
Albers also lent his IT expertise to the creation of Alpharetta’s 911-Command and Control Center. The center grants emergency
personnel access via a virtual private network to city security cameras. Albers installed and integrated a string of the
digital cameras so law enforcement officials can better plan and execute emergency operations. “John’s expertise in the IT
field has been a tremendous help,” says George Gordon, executive officer of public information at ADPS.
You’d think a financial services CIO would have his fill of putting out fires. But not Albers. “I’ll do whatever it takes and
whatever my day dictates,” he says. “Whether it’s being a fireman, a CIO or a crime fighter.”