West Palm Beach Police Unveil High-Tech Crime Center

The department unveiled the center Nov. 14, showcasing technology that includes the city's ShotSpotter gunfire detection system, surveillance cameras and license-plate recognition technology.

by Julius Whigham, The Palm Peach Post / November 15, 2018
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(TNS) — Watching the various monitors in the West Palm Beach Police Department's newly unveiled Real Time Crime Center, Officer Ryan Secord focused his attention on a screen that showed a man on a bicycle stop near a parked beer truck.

As the man appeared to remove something from an open door of the truck, Secord notified officers in the field, who would eventually arrest the man on a felony warrant.

It was just one example of how the department hopes to use the Crime Center to solve and deter crimes.

The department unveiled the Crime Center on Wednesday, showcasing technology that includes the city's ShotSpotter gunfire detection system, surveillance cameras and license-plate recognition technology.

Chief Sarah Mooney said the technologies will help officers in the field to respond to situations faster, find missing persons and review a crime scene moments after an incident has been reported.

"Each piece plays a little bit different part," she said. "The (ShotSpotter) technology allows our officers in the field to immediately be notified that there that there was an incident and they can respond a to location where it happened and kind of immediately know what they're getting into."

Mooney said the Crimes Center's focus will not only be crimes, but also assisting in situations such as a missing child or adult.

The city approved the $1.2 million center earlier this year, allocating money from the sale of the former City Hall site. Besides the Crime Center, the department announced that it is creating Citizen and Business Camera Registration Program.

Asked about privacy concerns, Mooney stressed that the that the program is voluntary and that the cameras would only reviewed with the owner's permission.

"The 'Big Brother' watching, that's not really what's it all about," she said. "It's about community safety. It's about engaging the community, letting them know what we're trying to do and trying to bring them in to help us and make the community safer."

©2018 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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