The new Area Tech Center is already helping the Chicago Police Department solve crimes, and the department is optimistic that its newest tool will help revolutionize its efforts to serve the citizens of the city.
The center was recently used in the aftermath of the shooting death of Officer John Rivera outside a River North nightclub. Surveillance video from around the club was processed and analyzed by the facility, and it helped speed up the process of capturing the suspects.
“They went out and they processed every video,” Bureau of Detectives Chief Melissa Staples said. “They were able to play it and download it and review it. If it were not for the video and the license plate readers that our department has, we would not have gotten to where we were as quickly as we did with an arrest in that case.”
Officers can now use what used to be dismissed as “unusable video” and turn it into evidence that can crack a case wide open.
“As we change the exposure, we can get a better look at (vehicles),” Sgt. Patrick Kinney said.
The new center can also take cell phone data from a carrier and map it, and can also take video from private, often incompatible, security systems.
“When we get private video, they can look at that stuff in real time,” Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “Before, it was a heavy lift. Now, the ATC’s can give us the ability to do that.”
The Los Angeles Police Department, who helped set up Chicago’s strategic decision centers, will take the idea back to Los Angeles. Those centers can help plot calls to 911, and can help officers immediately get to intersections to investigate potential incidents.