Agency name: Scottsdale Police Department (SPD)
Agency size: 400 sworn, just under 300 professional staff employees
Population served: 275,000 residents in the city of Scottsdale, Arizona (184 square miles), plus 12 million annual visitors for national and international events
Date RTCC launched: Started as a pilot project with one staff member (Supervisor Chris Henningsen) assigned in February 2021. Soft launch as full-time RTCC in February 2022. Now up to three full-time RTCC technicians and one supervisor cover 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, plus Wednesday to Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight.
Typical calls RTCC responds to: All calls to 911 that can be checked using video cameras, including special events.
The challenge: Many special events happening at once
With its sunny location, major league sporting events, and top-level hotels and restaurants, Scottsdale, Arizona is a mecca for the 12 million tourists who visit this city annually.
“We brought in 1.3 million people at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2023, at the same time as the Super Bowl,” Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther said. “When the Super Bowl was over and the last round of the Open had been played, we all looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, nothing happened.’”
This isn’t to say that Scottsdale police officers didn’t have to deal with issues related to these special events, along with their regular duties, because they did. But thanks to the intelligence provided to the officers by the city’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC), those issues were dealt with quickly, appropriately and without escalation. The result, from a police incident management standpoint, is that nothing significant happened.
The solution: Scottsdale PD’s RTCC
Established as a pilot project in January 2021, then ramped up to full-time status the next year, the Scottdale PD’s RTCC is a cutting-edge facility that aggregates almost 4,000 local, live camera feeds into a single control point and accesses them as needed using the Flock Safety FlockOS control platform. The SPD itself operates a number of Flock Safety Falcon LPR and Condor PTZ cameras. It also runs Flock Safety’s Wing VMS, to integrate third-party live cameras and VMS data into the SPD’s FlockOS public safety platform.
“We have partnerships with the City of Scottsdale Traffic Management Center and the City of Scottsdale Municipal Security Department, who give us access to all of their camera feeds,” SPD RTCC Supervisor Chris Henningsen said. “Then we have homeowners associations that have also purchased Flock Safety license plate reader (LPR) cameras, plus cameras in churches, malls and schools, among others. So, when we need to check into a new incident scene to advise responding officers what is happening there, we have the coverage and the RTCC infrastructure to accurately advise them what is happening there and what to expect when they arrive, in real-time.”
Special events like the Super Bowl add to the RTCC’s workload, but such is the completeness and flexibility of the facility’s camera management system, that they take this all in stride.
“When the Super Bowl came to town, our RTCC team went on a 24-hour cycle for three days just to be available to provide additional coverage to our patrol folks as needed,” Henningsen says. “When special events come into town, it just doubles up what our normal day-to-day activity is. But we do so many events throughout the year that, to myself and my folks at the RTCC, it’s just another day — just a little bit busier.”
There’s no doubt that the RTCC has made it easier for the Scottsdale Police Department to keep the peace during heavily attended special events.
“What the Real Time Crime Center does for us is that it leverages what I’m going to call ‘eyes in the sky’ during high demand times, even though these cameras are not in the sky but on poles,” Chief Walther said. “During the 2023 Super Bowl and Waste Management Open double header, for instance, we hit 1,023 calls for service from patrol on that day, when our average is about 650. The RTCC’s view allowed us to assess and prioritize the right responses to these calls, including minor collisions that cleared themselves before our people would have arrived. It allowed us to focus on the calls that mattered, which is why — despite 1,023 calls for service — nothing really happened.”
Looking ahead, Chief Walther hopes to add live drone footage to the RTCC’s arsenal of video feeds, to let them do their jobs even better for his officers and the public. “The RTCC has made us better and more comprehensive investigators,” he said. “It’s given us more information on the way to the call, which ultimately makes us safer. One of our biggest goals is to make the officers safer as they respond. When officers are safer because they have more information, then the citizenry is safer because we’re able to identify bad actors and their locations much quicker — which puts fewer and fewer citizens at risk.”
It’s clear that the RTCC’s role in enhancing officer and citizen safety is pivotal. The integration of technologies like live drone footage and automatic license plate readers, alongside the existing camera network, is a step toward a more interconnected and efficient crime prevention and response system. This technological synergy is central to the RTCC’s success in managing the safety and security of Scottsdale’s residents and visitors, particularly during large-scale events like the Super Bowl.
The Scottsdale PD’s RTCC demonstrates a progressive approach to leveraging technology for enhancing public safety. Its evolution from a modest pilot program to a sophisticated operation capable of handling large-scale events exemplifies a successful model in real-time crime prevention and response. The RTCC’s role in ensuring safety during major events, its ongoing technological advancements, and its impact on both officer and citizen safety underscore its significance as a critical asset in the Scottsdale Police Department’s public safety strategy.
James Careless www.police1.com
2024-01-17 04:58:43 , "events phoenix when:1d" – Vivrr Local