Arizona City Sets Up Real-Time Crime Center
Tuesday, August 16, 2022 | Comments

In July 2021, the Mesa (Arizona) City Council approved plans for a real-time crime center (RTCC).

The mission of Mesa’s RTCC is to equip its police department, first responders and public-safety supervisors with a variety of new and evolving technologies for efficient and effective public safety response. The new center will allow critical information and intelligence to be gathered, quickly assessed and disseminated in real time back to first responders and public-safety supervisors responsible for the management of public-safety emergencies.

Mesa, located just east of Phoenix, is the third-largest city in Arizona and ranks 36th in the U.S, with a population of 504,258. The Mesa Police Department, comprised of 800 sworn officers and 500 civilian support staff, protects its citizens over a vast sprawl of 140 square miles.

In addition, the center will support public-safety response to large-scale special events throughout Mesa, including events such as the Mesa Marathon, Celebration of Freedom, Merry Main Street and other special events.

“We set out to provide real-time data to officers responding to calls for service and enable them to get an edge on their response time,” said Lieutenant Ryan Stokes. “Whether it’s 30 seconds, a minute, or a few minutes, we want to leverage technology to provide better customer service, make our city safer and protect our officers.”

RTCCs are intended to initially triage information from a call for service and provide information, such as suspect vehicle descriptions, victim or suspect criminal histories, and other pertinent information, on the fly to assist in furthering an officer’s investigation and response during a call.

Stokes has been with the City of Mesa Police Department for 21-years. He and his development team were instrumental in researching and implementing various technologies for its RTCC. They began by visiting centers across the country and evaluating an array of innovative technologies being used, including HigherGround’s Live911 solution.

“We brought that concept back thinking this would be a great tool for our crime center operations,” said Stokes. “Live911 could give us a head start by immediately showing the location of the caller as emergency calls come in and allow us to hear bits of information at the same time as dispatchers are inputting their data.”

The RTCC went live in May and includes state-of- the-art software, mapping systems, consoles and records management systems (RMS)/CAD components, integrating multiple public safety information systems and linking them with video cameras throughout Mesa. The RTCC serves as an information hub that gathers information in real time to provide first responders with critical information to help them do their job safely and quickly identify and apprehend criminals.

“Creating a fully-integrated real time crime center is not for the faint of heart,” said Sergeant Matt Kuntz. “I’ll say Live911 has probably been the fastest and most seamless of applications to get up and running. It was basically plug-and-play. And it didn’t take long for people to see its power in helping our investigations.”

Live911 has assisted day-to-day operations such as capturing vehicles fleeing from a crime, quickly coordinating the blocking off of intersections after car accidents and locating suspects. In one instance, Detective Brian Elmore heard a Live911 call come in indicating a drive-by shooting had just occurred. As the 9-1-1 operator was obtaining the basic information from the caller, hewas already taking the information he was hearing over Live911, orienting himself with cameras in the area and between him and another detective, they were able to follow the vehicle, provide real time updates to officers responding who located and safely apprehended multiple suspects in this case.

“There is no way any of that would have happened without the jump Live911 provided me,” Elmore said. “The suspect would have already been out of the area by the time a call for service was dispatched. Having the ability to listen into that 911 call and get that couple of minutes’ headstart was key to a successful resolution. It’s these types of situations that Live911 technology is really proving valuable.”

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