CORAL SPRINGS, FL - TV screens with live feeds to cameras are rolling. The police dispatch radio is crackling with the latest call outs. And computers are showing sophisticated mapping of the city.
It’s part of a new police centralized technology center to give field officers and detectives instant information to solve crimes faster – in real-time, police administrators said last week.
The Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center opened in January at a cost of $50,000 (paid by a city crime-activity forfeiture fund) to drive more effective deployment of officers in responding to crimes in progress and unsolved crimes in hot spots across the city.
For now, the system, located at police headquarters, is in its infancy, but the goal within the next two years or so is to bring it to full capacity by interconnecting feeds from hundreds, and eventually thousands, of cameras on major streets and businesses across Coral Springs with information from police license-plate readers, computer-aided dispatch system, and other crime-fighting resources.
“With the vast amount technology out there, we should use it to our advantage to solve crimes,” said Lt. Nicholas Mazzei, who is supervising the center. “We now have one central place to draw all the data in and have one or more people look at everything and get it out to officers right away.”
In the age of global terrorism, mass shootings, and other emergencies, police departments across the nation, including Broward Sheriff’s Office, are setting up similar centers, using a mesh of state-of-the-art technology to not only fight crime but also monitor and respond to threats to their communities.
Mazzei explained the Real Time Crime Center in Coral Springs will not be a surveillance system to monitor people without reason.
“Our goal is security and safety. If someone is the victim of a crime, it’ll now be a lot quicker to locate that suspect,” Mazzei said.
Once it’s fully operational, the center will be able to, for instance, track a crime as soon as it’s reported and then use video and other data to spot potential suspects and catch them as they flee the location.
But that’s still some time away, police said.
For now, the center monitors just a handful of video feeds coming in from a city garage and the intersection of Sample Road and University Drive, as well as feeds from schools, Ring (city police have a partnership with the doorbell-camera company) and other sources.
By the end of the year, though, there will be dozens more camera feeds coming into the center from existing cameras at city government properties, including parks, and new cameras installed at city gateways such as University Drive, Wiles Road and Sample Road. Police will also begin partnering with businesses to add their camera feeds into the data system.
In addition, body cameras worn by police officers will, one day, be added to the system, giving police even more ability to monitor and solve crimes as they unfold.
Coral Springs police have assigned one staff member to monitor the video feeds and other data coming into the Real Time Crime Center. As the center expands, more staff will be added.
The $50,000 cost in opening the center included computers, TV screens, digital servers, wiring, and software. An additional $40,000-$50,000 is expected to be spent this year on adding new cameras across the city, with money also coming from the forfeiture fund. Police will eventually establish an annual budget to run the center.
At the heart of the operation is a video management system run by Interlogic.
“We want people to know that we have this center – if you come into our city to do something unlawful or against our citizens, you’ll know that you may not see us today or tomorrow, but we’ll come find you,” said Brad McKeone, the deputy police chief. “And this system will help us do that.”
Coral Springs police are looking to partner with businesses that are interested in sharing their video feeds with the Real Time Crime Center. If interested, contact Lt. Nicholas Mazzei at 954-346-1795 or email@example.com.