JPD: Real-Time Command Center a time-saver, valuable resource in fighting crime

Updated: Dec. 24, 2020 at 2:03 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A little more than a month after opening, Jackson’s Real-Time Command Center (RTCC) is already paying dividends.

“It has aided in a lot of investigations we have going on in our robbery-homicide division,” said Jackson Police Department spokesman Sam Brown, “and has helped us cut down on the number of hours it takes to (investigate) some of these cases.”

The center opened in mid-November, and currently provides JPD access to hundreds of surveillance cameras across the city.

Those cameras, in turn, have captured valuable data on crimes, including data on a December 23 shooting on North State Street and a December 18 attempted armed robbery in Belhaven.

On December 23, JPD released a still image of a car they believed to be involved in the North State shooting, which resulted in the death of a teenager.

Jackson's Real-Time Command Center captured this footage of a car that police say is linked to...
Jackson's Real-Time Command Center captured this footage of a car that police say is linked to a shooting on North State Street.(WLBT)

The footage was obtained through a business surveillance camera that was registered with the center, Brown said.

As for the Belhaven incident, RTCC can monitor cameras installed by the Belhaven Improvement Association through a pilot program with the PILEUM Corporation.

“We had video footage of the actual incident and ended up getting a still shot of the possible vehicle,” Brown said.

Jackson's RTCC captured this footage of car officers believed is tied to an attempted armed...
Jackson's RTCC captured this footage of car officers believed is tied to an attempted armed robbery in Belhaven.(Jackson Police Department)

Brown said having access to that footage cuts down on the time it takes to investigate cases. It also helps confirm facts that witnesses might be too distressed to remember.

“Without it, we would have to confirm the victim’s information and go to neighbors to see if they saw anything,” he said. “That takes time.”

He didn’t know how many cases had been solved as a result of the center.

That fact aside, reducing manhours is welcome news for JPD, which has seen its police force shrink and violent crimes rise.

Through September 27, the department was down 101 officers and 20 detectives.

Meanwhile, through December 20, the city had experienced double-digit increases in homicides and aggravated assaults.

The Lumumba administration held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Riverside Drive center on November 19.

At the time, the center had access to about 600 cameras across the city, including some installed in south Jackson, as well as highway cameras owned by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

A pilot program with PILEUM gave the city the ability to tie into privately-held cameras, including the ones installed in Belhaven.

The Belhaven Improvement Association (BIA) has cameras installed at Peachtree Street and Riverside Drive, Greymont Avenue and Fortification Street, and at Laurel Street Park.

BIA President Reed Hogan said the association had been working with the JPD for years and was happy to participate in the pilot program.

“Chief (James) Davis and Deputy Chief (Vincent) Grizzell have made it their mission to create a state-of-the-art surveillance system in Jackson,” he said. “We’ve been eagerly waiting to jump into their system when it became an option.”

He was pleased that Belhaven’s cameras could help investigators looking into the attempted robbery on Greymont.

According to JPD, video footage shows the suspects were in what appeared to be a gray 2007 Audi sedan. Cameras captured video of the stolen vehicle in the Belhaven area, picking up a second suspect.

The Lumumba administration eventually hopes to have access to surveillance systems across the city.

The pilot program, which the council approved in October, gave Jackson the ability to access up to five city-owned and five privately-owned devices.

In December, the city council approved a $447,000, four-year agreement with PILEUM to provide software and services needed to tie into an additional 1,500 cameras and 4,500 data points.

The first phase will include installing up to 25 “fususCORE” networking devices, each of which would support up to 30 cameras.

The second phase would include adding an additional 20 “fususCORE” boxes. The second and third phases would include the addition of an artificial intelligence component to help process and store video data.

Brown said there are two ways businesses and homeowners can provide access.

Owners can register their cameras with the command center, which would give the department access to footage after an incident occurs.

“Once they register with the system and we can see they’re registered, when we are investigating a crime in that area, we can contact those businesses and ask them to send us a copy of their video,” he said.

“We would be able to communicate electronically with them. We wouldn’t have to go to the store, go in the back and look at their system and have them burn the video on a DVD,” Brown said. “It makes it a whole lot easier.”

The second option would allow owners to purchase a device that would allow RTCC to monitor the cameras in real-time.

Brown said additional businesses and neighborhoods have reached out to the city about tying into the system, including ones in Northeast Jackson and Fondren.

Some apartment complexes also are participating in the pilot program.

“A lot of businesses and homeowners would like to deal with the police, but don’t want others to know that they’re dealing with them,” he said. “With this, you don’t have the police coming to your door. You eliminate that through the registry.”

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.