PLAINFIELD, NJ - TAPinto Plainfield had the pleasure of touring the Plainfield Police Division with Director Carl Riley over the weekend.
Buzzed in, we were informed we were late, and told Riley had left. What?? Oh, police humor - we were right on time!
Beginning the tour, we were shown the charging station for all of the body cameras. Every officer who goes out on a call wears one.
We saw fingerprint scanning technology that has replaced ink pads, and camera shots of the jail cells. Riley said attendants must check on prisoners on a regular basis to make sure they are okay.
We then descended the stairs, and met with a lieutenant who showed us a monitoring station filled with multiple screens. The screens contain live feeds of activity across the city, and the level of detail to which they can drill down is quite daunting.
There is also a screen featuring ShotSpotter, the system that is designed to detect gun shots within the area of coverage, pinpoint from where they've been fired, and alert authorities. The technology delivers real-time, actionable data; supervisors receive an email with the necessary information on where the shots were fired, and officers can quickly be deployed to the scene. According to its website, as of July 2016, ShotSpotter is in place in seven New Jersey cities. See how ShotSpotter works.
We then headed to the area where operators receive 9-1-1 calls and joked with Betty, who’s worked there for over thirty years, about how much the technology has evolved. The setup is impressive having recently been upgraded. Computer monitors show operators which officers are in what cars, and who is speaking.
We moved to a room to meet with Detective Rivera, and saw photos featuring persons of interest and heat maps of activity adorning a wall. TAPinto Plainfield wasn't allowed to take pictures. But we can tell you it was fascinating to see, and reminded us of the walls that Carrie Mathison of Homeland has filled with timelines and evidence, although more organized and certainly less manic.
Det. Rivera proceeded with a deep-dive demo of how the department uses data. He looks at historical trends and current hot spots to analyze and compile reports. It is a treasure trove for someone who loves numbers.
Positive inroads have been made by the Public Safety Division with upgrades to equipment, including computers and GPS in patrol cars. Crime in Plainfield has decreased by 26% in 2016 vs. 2014, complaints against police officers are down over 50%, and relationships between local police and members of the community are stronger. Yet Riley said despite all of the progress, the department still needs the help of residents in solving crimes.
Upon conclusion of our tour, Director Riley pointed out the "Project Medicine Drop" receptacle. Citizens are encouraged to safely dispose of their unused, excess, or expired prescription medications, and medicines can be dropped off seven days a week.
TAPinto Plainfield would like to thank Director Riley, and everyone on his team who took the time to share all that they do to help keep the City of Plainfield safe.