New surveillance center ready to monitor back-to-school day, sheriff says

After 140 drills, BSO launches Real Time Crime Center

By Louis Aguirre - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said detectives will be extra vigilant Wednesday and monitoring back-to-school day with their new state-of-the-art strategic surveillance and command center, which is fully up and running.

Tony said the new 2,600-square-foot center will have live video feeds from computer-controlled camera systems that cover more than 260 schools and administrative buildings. The technology will help detectives to better guide the deputies on the ground.

Tony said the installment of the Broward Sheriff's Office Real Time Crime Center, or RTCC, in January was as a result of the failures during the 2018 Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

During the school shooting that left 17 people dead, delayed surveillance video was mistaken for live security footage. RTCC detectives have conducted 140 drills in preparation for its use for back-to-school 2019-20. 

BSO is not the only law enforcement agency in South Florida to have an RTCC with data gathering technology to adapt to the modern information sharing environment.  

An RTCC was first operational at the Miami-Dade Police Department and includes ShotSpotter, which uses outdoor acoustic sensors to pinpoint the location of a shooting, and automated license plate readers. The Miami Gardens Police Department also has an operational RTCC, which uses CineMassive visualization system.  

The Department of Justice first implemented the technology with the New York Police Department's $11 million RTCC in 2005. The center also has satellite imaging and a geographic information system software. With data science advances, RTCC centers are capable of including a crime analysis unit with access to crime forecasting software

Broward County students who are interested in developing algorithms through the use of data could be preparing for the law enforcement jobs of tomorrow. 

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