COPS Office Grantee Takes Innovative Approach to Using Synergistic Technology Systems
The East Orange Police Department (EOPD) maintains and continues to expand its technological advancements that have helped achieve historic gains in public safety, while also enhancing efficiency and responsiveness. While many law enforcement agencies across the United States have implemented various technologies, East Orange, New Jersey, has attracted the interest of both local and international public safety partners as a model for best practices in technology implementation. What is the key difference in their efforts? Quite simply, as stated by Police Chief Ronald Borgo, “full integration.”
The East Orange Police Department’s Community Safety Information Grid (CSIG) is a powerful series of interconnected situational awareness, resource synchronization, and force multiplier technologies that help prevent crime and acts of terrorism and reduce the rate of criminal offending. A key feature of CSIG is that it is a reconfigurable and scalable platform that integrates police information and force multiplier technology to enhance the quality of actionable intelligence and speed law enforcement coordination and response. As a result, police are able to quickly synchronize and maximize their already scarce resources.
A component of the CSIG is the Law Enforcement Electronic Dashboard (LEED), a three dimensional paperless public safety monitoring and crime management system that provides summary, multidimensional, and detailed layers of actionable information. LEED provides the department with updated information about criminal activity every 30 seconds. The CSIG encompasses a variety of other important tools including an Automated Pattern Finder, Predictive Analytics, Tactical Automated Vehicle Locator (TAC AVL), Wireless In-Car Reporting, IP-Based Surveillance Cameras, a Gunshot Detection System, License Plate Recognition, and Smart Sensors. Some of these technology systems are very familiar to current standard operating procedure for law enforcement, while others are more innovative and customized. Together, these systems synergistically help to provide a 360-degree real-time crime prevention solution, ranging from problem identification and assessment to response. The key elements are real-time data and systems integration. “This approach is unique in that its technology components and systems integration improve and streamline proven crime-fighting strategies that have produced 6 consecutive years of crime reductions and driven overall serious crime down 76 percent in East Orange.”1
The CSIG is operated out of the Real-Time Crime Prevention Center (RT-CPC). This center is staffed 24 hours per day and its primary mission is to prevent crime and enhance public safety. By converting raw information from multiple sources into actionable intelligence in real time, the RT-CPC provides police departments, for the first time, with the ability to identify and defuse threats to public safety before they occur. The ability to sense and prevent potential crimes has raised the bar over the traditions of post criminal trend and root cause analyses.
The CSIG adds operational value by enabling the EOPD to forecast a variety of scenarios and opportunities to deter future criminal activity and to take real-time action when required. For example, within minutes of a reported criminal incident, patrol officers wirelessly transmit incident information to the records management system from the field. The crime dashboard then scans each reported incident and automatically identifies and warns of criminal anomalies, trends or spikes in overall or specific crimes. An integrated automated pattern identification and correlation system qualifies criminal incident data by identifying and associating similarities. Identified correlative pattern data is then analyzed by a statistical profiler/predictive analysis system to help predict the area and time of where the next criminal incident is most likely to occur. System features enable electronic formulation and transmission of corresponding crime prevention and incident mitigation plans to police patrols, virtual patrollers, and image sensory agents to prevent, not just react to criminal activity and other hazards. Finally, police response plans can be electronically monitored and modified in real time.
Force multiplier technologies complement the CSIG automated intelligence cycle. Virtual directed patrols can be executed at police headquarters or from within patrol cars through IP-Based Surveillance cameras. Smart sensors are the newest addition to the arsenal of technologies in use by EOPD. Purchased with funds from a COPS grant, these high- definition cameras are embedded with a computer chip that intelligently analyses images in real time. These sensors are programmed to monitor and warn officers of common and specific behaviors that may constitute criminal incidents, as customized by the EOPD, before they unfold. “The integration of smart sensors with conventional police surveillance cameras allows for the formulation of a virtual surveillance ring around an incident location.”
Sensory and virtual patrol detections of potentially unfolding criminal activity provide a small window of opportunity for police intervention. To change the dynamics of an emergent situation and to shape outcomes, smart sensors were integrated with conventional surveillance cameras, TAC AVL, and CAD systems to produce a historic breakthrough in reducing police emergency dispatch and response times. The innovative automated Alarm-Based Automated Emergency Dispatch (ABAD) sequence begins with a smart image sensor alert. Operators view streaming video of sensor detections and determine if events warrant an ABAD response (usually crimes in progress or about to occur). Upon activation of ABAD, smart sensors transmit coordinates of the occurrence to the TAC AVL and synchronize conventional surveillance cameras to form a virtual surveillance ring around the incident location. TAC AVL transmits the locations of available police units nearest to the incident to the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. CAD electronically transmits emergency dispatch instructions to the closest available police units. The entire automated dispatch sequence takes about 1 second to complete, as compared with EOPD’s average time of about 2 minutes, 29 seconds.
By using GPS technology to locate the actual closest police units to emergency situations, instead of geographical area of assignment, ABAD significantly reduces emergency police response times. The ABAD framework is currently being implemented for selected 911 calls to reduce emergency police response times to critical incidents.
Digisensory, an international partner that has worked very closely with the East Orange Police Department, is the leading provider of smart sensor technology. This Australian- based company has successfully partnered with American law enforcement to customize a product that is innovative, imaginative, and is changing law enforcement customers’ expectations of what this product can deliver. The success of this partnership has made EOPD a leader in its’ effective use of law enforcement technologies. Their concept has garnered interest from many global partners in their response to public safety. EOPD recently has been engaged in meetings with Brazilian officials to discuss the development of a system that they could use to respond to some of the challenges they will face during the upcoming World Cup series. During these discussions, technology-enabled operational plans and strategies were shared, and the officials were amazed at the impact technology integration and real-time intelligence have made in the city of East Orange. As a result of these meetings, the CSIG model has been identified as a best practice to be used during the Summer Olympics. For an exciting blog entry on this system, please visit digisensory.blogspot.com/2010/03/customer-driven-focus.html.
The CSIG’s transformative business model has far-reaching implications; it presents a futuristic policing framework with an extraordinarily high return on investment in terms of both public safety and economic value—in this case delivering crime reductions at a rate roughly 12 times the national average, reducing crime-related economic losses by tens of millions of dollars, and increasing productivity and efficiency.
The East Orange Police Department held its unveiling ceremony of this system in March. Neighboring jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies across the state and country have expressed interest in acquiring smart sensor cameras and other systems as a result of the success of the Community Safety Information Grid. To visit the East Orange Police Department, please go to www.eopd.com.
- 1East Orange Community Safety Information Grid description guide provided to the COPS office