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Jun 7, 2024

Polk County Sheriff’s Office creates new Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Media Contact: Scott Wilder, Director

Florida Polytechnic University will provide professional and technical support

Modern law enforcement needs to stay ahead of the technological curve when it comes to preventing, fighting, and solving crime. With the incredible upside potential benefits of artificial intelligence, there is a downside: criminals will use the technology to commit crime. This is not only an ‘investigative unit’—It is a holistic unit dedicated to visioning, discovery, and creativity. Its purpose is to use what we learn to keep the community safe. We are proud to partner with Florida Polytechnic to benefit from their renowned expertise and human talent to help fight crime.” –Grady Judd, Sheriff

Click here to see the news conference.

There are several operational goals of the newly created unit:

• Identify emerging AI technologies and leverage and/or combat the misuse of these technologies.
• Provide ongoing updates on emerging AI technologies, methodologies, and trending AI incidents to law enforcement leadership. 
• Compose and propose legislation and policy to protect the community from new crimes that AI certainly will create, if left unchallenged.
• Craft solutions with Next Generation intellects from Florida Polytechnic University.
• Obtain and maintain cutting-edge training and tools to help identify AI-related crime and criminals. 
• Assist in criminal investigations involving the use of AI, including cyber harassment, identity theft, extortion, hate crimes, and other related cybercrimes. 
• Systematically vet new AI investigative software for use in a law enforcement setting.
• Maintain up-to-date knowledge of developing AI trends, techniques, tactics, and procedures of threat actors using AI technology, including extortion/blackmail trends.
• Identify and analyze “deep fake” and AI-altered images/video/audio production technologies and methodologies used to mislead the public.
• Identify federal, state, and local agency partnerships for investigating AI incidents. Implement best policies and practices related to criminal AI investigations.
• Provide training and assistance in investigations related to AI (internal to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and to external partner agencies).

Florida Polytechnic University partnership

As part of the partnership, Florida Poly will help develop and assist with the operational success of the PCSO AI Investigation Unit, providing technical and research support. 
Florida Poly student interns will gain one-of-a-kind, real-world experience working and developing skills in the AI field with law enforcement professionals. The interns will provide advanced technology solutions to current PCSO systems. 

The president of Florida Poly, Dr. Randy Avent, said the University is exploring curriculum and degree opportunities related to AI fields of study. He also underscored the importance of the collaboration. 

“This working partnership with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is a natural fit for our mission to serve students and industry through excellence in education, discovery, and application of engineering and applied sciences,”
Avent said. “We strive to find real-life applications to bring value to our students’ education and value to our community. This is one more way that we are leaders in building Florida's technology-based economy.”