“I’m proud to be a native Atlantan; I have a passion for my environment.”
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In a city full of newcomers, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel was born and raised in Atlanta. She attended the city’s public schools; her family still lives in Atlanta. It’s the city that shaped who she is today. “I have a passion for my environment,” she says.
Gwinn-Villaroel has also always had a passion for law enforcement and decided that this career path—serving Atlanta and its residents—would be an excellent way to give back to the city that had given her so much.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Gwinn-Villaroel joined the Atlanta Police Department as a beat officer. She rose through the ranks to become a detective, and then a sergeant in 2010, working for the Atlanta Police Academy and the Human Resources Unit. As a supervisor, Gwinn-Villaroel expects her team to also give back and to treat Atlanta – her home—like it’s their home, too.
“I’ve instilled that into the officers who I have overseen throughout the course of my career to make sure that I’m not telling them to do something that I have not done or that I’m not passionate about.”
Gwinn-Villaroel is now part of the Tactical Crime Analysis Unit (TCAU), which identifies crime patterns and trends in an effort to solve or prevent crimes and assist in effectively utilizing Atlanta Police Department resources and personnel.
“[We are] making sure that all of our crime statistics are accurate, and making sure that our data is actually sorted through and filtered through to make sure we’re providing the public with the [most] exact and accurate data as possible.”
Crime analysis information is also used in the development of APD’s tactics, strategies, and long-term plans. In 2017 and 2018, the department worked with Georgia Tech Assistant Professor Yao Xie to test an algorithm that finds connections between crime incidents. It examines data captured by 911 operators and by police officers at the scene of a crime to find patterns between cases, which could help solve serial crimes.
“Having this collaboration with Georgia Tech is just pivotal for the APD,“ said Gwinn-Villaroel. “I am supportive of anything that is going to help move this department forward, and that’s going to help the citizens to feel safer.”
Georgia Tech Connection
Yao Xie is an Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her research interests are in sequential statistical methods, statistical signal processing, big data analysis, compressed sensing, optimization, and has been involved in applications to wireless communications, sensor networks, medical and astronomical imaging.