LA, Chicago-based agency helps crime prevention data

(clockwise: McNally, van Schalkwyk, Hurley, Swingler)

Former FCB Chicago and Deutsch LA, Creative Director, Josh Hurley, and former Deutsch LA CD, Travis Swingler launched the creative/tech shop CNVYR last year with the intentions of turning a profit while making the world a better place. They struck that balance right out of the gate with the NIBRS “go ready!” campaign.

NIBRS stands for “National Incident-Based Reporting System.” Introduced in the late 1980s, it is a law enforcement technique for collecting and reporting data related to specific incidents. Ideally, the system ensures equality in the application of the law while allowing agencies to share policing data and tap into community resources and services.

Realistically, it is the system that all of the nation’s agencies are required to begin using in 2021, per federal mandate.

San Francisco-based AI technology company Lucidworks recently grouped NIBRS into a digital platform that allows police departments to aggregate and analyze its data with several previously separate silos of information. Combining the information with records from places like the Veterans Administration and the Department of Children and Family Services, the company has enhanced officers’ ability to determine when to reach out to social services instead of reaching for their handcuffs.

CNVYR is tasked with helping the nation’s CIOs and chiefs of police understand these new capabilities. Essentially, the LA- and Chicago-based agency is part of a movement to make crime prevention a community-focused effort.

“It’s going to fit really well into the cultural of transparency and accountability of the watching-the-watchman kind of thing,” says Swingler. “That’s been even more relevant these days with the attack on the capitol.” Adds Hurley, “this can make a difference and shed light on something that people would like to hear about.”

Swingler and Hurley met at Deutsch Los Angeles in 2019. After expanding their already impressive portfolios with a variety of award-winning Taco Bell spots, they struck out on a mission to be “like a think tank that knows how to execute,” according to Swingler. The two teamed with IT Consultant Steph van Schalkwyk and Chris McNally to form the agency.

“What makes us uniquely equipped is our self-awareness and our cultural awareness,” he continues. “We know that we are able to craft something from soup to nuts and put it out in short order. Why not do that for something that’s going to be potentially good for the world?”

CNVYR President Chris McNally plays a key role in shaping the NIBRS; go ready! campaign. A former Managing Director for SapientRazorfish, he thrives at the crossroads of creative and technology.

When describing how NIBRS has become more helpful to police departments, he says that “better user experience (UX) and intuitive user interface (UI) are ‘table stakes’ in the private sector, and applying those best-practices in the law enforcement realm will boost adoption by police officers.”

What he means is that Lucidworks has added remarkable user friendliness to the NIBRS interface, which used to look like a freeze frame of digital gobbledygook from a sequence in The Matrix

Lucidworks CEO Will Hayes is proud of the company’s contribution to the effort.

“We purpose build our technology to optimize digital experiences for employees, customers, and customer service teams,” he says. “It’s exciting to see that Lucidworks’ capabilities can also be applied to fields such a law enforcement, where digital transformation is desperately needed.”

-Will Hayes, CEO Lucidworks

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In addition to the focus on UX and UI, CNVYR’s campaign to police departments relies on time-tested methods from the consumer advertising world.

“All that stuff really is loosely defined as an insight engine — connecting disparate data sources and crunching it,” says McNally. “The bits and bytes are the same universal truths whether you are selling Campbell’s soup or boosting your solved-murder rate.”

CNVYR’s custom solution also pulls information from social media and community input mechanisms, which is analyzed with artificial intelligence to help police predict crime in the same way that businesses forecast sales.

The story has gained the attention of media titan Rupert Maconick, law enforcement expert professor Dr. Joseph Fitzgerald, and filmmaker Werner Herzog, who is interested in creating a documentary about the engine.

Although making a movie about a database might seem a little grand, McNally considers it a boon to national harmony.

“The pre-genesis of NIBRS is 9/11 and the fact that the CIA and the FBI didn’t really share notes, which provided the inspiration to create Palantir, the world’s most mysterious insight engine,” he explains. “In a similar way, NIBRS; go-ready! urges domestic government agencies to share data quickly for smarter dispatch of community resources without bias or racism.”

Other projects in the CNVYR wheelhouse include pilots for the CBD category that focus on scientific claims for PTSD, anxiety, cancer, cessation and depression.

Daniel Patton covers the Chicago landscape of advertising, music, people and more.