Wilmington PD's new real-time tech is a win for a safer city, and possibly open data - Technical.ly Delaware

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May 17, 2016 11:32 am

Wilmington PD’s new real-time tech is a win for a safer city, and possibly open data

The Wilmington Police Department unveiled its new Real Time Crime Center on Monday.
A Wilmington PD patrol car.

A Wilmington PD patrol car.

(Photo by Flickr user 10-42Adam, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Wilmington Police took a big leap toward getting hip and with it, at least tech-wise, Monday when the department unveiled the Real Time Crime Center.

It’s a command center at police headquarters that will be integrated with technology in patrol cars to provide live updates between officers, to share information about things like suspects and patrol locations and to leave shift notes in an internal blogging system, according to several reports. That’s all being done through a software platform called NC4 Street Smart, which, according to its website, won the 2013 Microsoft Collaboration and Content Partner of the Year award for solving a pressing technology challenge for police.

“It gives the ability to push out updates from car to car or from shift to shift. So when an officer would generally come into work and they’re writing notes in their notebook that they put in their pocket and go home with them,” Police Chief Bobby Cummings told Delaware Public Media. “Now they can leave it when they log it on the system — so not only is it there for the officer who initiated it, but for every officer who follows behind or every officer who maybe needs to do some research.”

Previously, WDEL reported, supervisors had to communicate through an inefficient email system.

Garnet Valley-based IMS Technology Services was a part of the project’s first phase in designing the interactive network of high-def screens, Delaware Public Media reported. Part of that effort involved syncing those screens to patrol car computers, which can also be accessed through officers’ phone apps.

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Phase two of the Real Time Crime Center, the report said, includes integrating Downtown Visions cameras with monitors at police headquarters — and adding more cameras in Wilmington — by January.

The police department received $750,000 from the state to fund the new technology, two commanders, a crime analysis unit and a criminal operating unit.

The crime analysis unit will be putting the data generated to good use, particularly with accountability, Lieutenant Cecelia Ashe — and a Real Time Crime Center commander — told WHYY/NewsWorks.

“Now we’re able to provide a lot more data to support what we’ve been saying,” Chief Cummings told WHYY. There’s hope yet for some open data opportunities: He also said some of the information gathered will be shared with civic groups so they can learn more about crime happening in their neighborhoods.

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