2009 GCN RISING STAR

Genen Soo-Hoo brings finer IT to N.Y.'s finest

GCN recognizes the innovators who help keep government on the front line of IT

Name: Genen Soo-Hoo

Age: 29

Organization: New York City Police Department

Title: Certified Web developer


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First IT mentor: His 96-year-old grandmother. When he was 9 years old, Soo-Hoo went to turn on a new computer for the first time and nothing happened. He checked all the wires and even opened up the CPU to see if anything was loose. “Turn on the TV,” his grandmother said. He realized she meant the monitor. And yes, it was turned off. “I learned that sometimes the best solution to a problem may just be the simplest one,” he says.

Latest accomplishments on the job: Actually, there are two: The Training Bureau Enterprise Learning Management and NYPD Crime Stoppers applications. The Training Bureau's enterprise learning management application manages all training courses and certifications for more than 54,000 NYPD employees. NYPD Crime Stoppers is a full-fledged crime-fighting Web system that lets the public and detectives work together to fight crime.

Career highlight: “When I was notified of several NYPD Crime Stoppers Web tips that directly led to criminal arrests.”

Favorite job-related bookmark: When he arrived at the NYPD in 2006, Soo-Hoo worked on a test machine that ran Windows 95 with a 22-inch CRT monitor. 

Dream non-IT related job: “Contrary to what my wife thinks, I have a talent for cooking. I love preparing soup dishes, and my favorite is wonton soup with noodles.”

Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., Genen Soo-Hoo remembers police officers patrolling his neighborhood on foot, in cars and even on horseback. “It was pretty tough,” Soo-Hoo said. Drug-dealing in the Lefrak City neighborhood was not uncommon, and Soo-Hoo’s mother cautioned him to keep off the streets. One hot summer day, Soo-Hoo remembers a police officer in full gear chasing a suspect. The sweat was pouring down the officer’s face, but he didn’t slow down.

Today, when Soo-Hoo walks through his old neighborhood, he doesn’t see the drug dealers anymore. “I saw how the NYPD had made a difference, so I wanted to make a difference by joining" them, he said.

Soo-Hoo has made a difference by designing, developing and managing two applications that have helped the New York City Police Department in its efforts to fight crime and keep New Yorkers safe. The NYPD Crime Stoppers “Submit a Tip” Web site and the Training Bureau’s enterprise learning management system have delivered measurable results.

The NYPD Crime Stoppers program, which has been active since 1986, relied on an anonymous tip phone hotline. Last year, the department launched the “Submit a Tip” Web site that enables users to submit anonymous tips via the Internet or text a tip via cell phone. The Web site offers tip submission directions and forms in the diverse languages of New Yorkers, including Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Korean, in addition to English. It also gives users a tip ID that they can use to claim a $2,000 award if the tip leads to an arrest.

The NYPD’s enterprise learning management system, powered by Oracle/PeopleSoft, automated police training records for the city’s more than 54,000-member police force. The training provided by the New York Police Academy would rival some universities in terms of depth and breadth of training, said assistant chief George Anderson, commanding officer of the New York Police Academy. But before implementing the system, the academy tracked its records on index cards, log sheets and an assortment of stand-alone versions of Microsoft Excel, Word and Access. There was no way to get an electronic transcript, Anderson said. Now every uniformed police department employee can access an electronic transcript of their recruit training, Anderson said. The system is updated nightly, registering new courses, users and attendance.

Chris Apuzzo, the NYPD's computer operations manager, described Soo-Hoo as “thorough, steadfast and unshakable — and an excellent programmer.” The department had to pull together 88 different data sources, Apuzzo said. “It was a daunting task, but Genen is willing to try anything,” Apuzzo said. “His attitude is always, ‘I can do this.’”

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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