The Gwinnett Police Department has taken a first official step toward the creation of a new high-tech “situation awareness and crime response center.”
The center, which would be similar to offerings in major cities like New York and Atlanta, is likely still more than a year in the future, Chief Butch Ayers said. But it would use things like camera systems, license plate readers and other technologies to help keep officers better informed while en route to incidents and to get a better grasp on active situations.
Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday a $355,000 contract for a consultant that will help steer the creation process.
“We hope they’ll do the research and give us the best practices and point us in the right direction,” Ayers said.
Much is to be determined about how Gwinnett’s new center would operate. But generally speaking, it would involve analysts or other employees taking call information from dispatch and diving deeper — looking at camera systems that may be in the area of the incident, digging through other databases, previous calls, etc. — in order to provide as much information to responding officers as quickly as possible.
Such research could also give detectives eventually assigned to a case a head start.
Ayers specifically referenced the Atlanta Police Department’s video integration center, which monitors thousands of cameras throughout the city to provide “unprecedented crime deterrence potential and the capacity to solve crimes and take criminals off the streets faster.” That system allows private business owners to integrate their security cameras into the network.
“It can go from anything from a traffic control monitoring situation to major accidents to major crimes, to crimes in progress, violent crimes in progress,” Ayers said. “The more information the officer responding to that call has, the quicker there will be a mitigation of that incident and the better chances for a successful resolution.”
Several local community improvement districts — groups of business owners that voluntarily tax themselves in order to pay for improvements to things like safety, transportation and aesthetics — were active in lobbying for such a center and would likely be significant partners.
“We’re looking forward to being engaged, especially once they develop the framework and the backbone,” Gwinnett Place CID director Joe Allen said.
Ayers said the department would be “lucky to see something even in 2019” but is “rearing to go.”
The consulting contract was awarded to Federal Engineering, Inc.
In other Gwinnett news:
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