FORT LAUDERDALE – A Broward County safety program is getting an upgrade.
“So, right here we have a 40-foot video wall,” Lt. Dave Fernandez told CBS4’s Keith Jones during a tour.
The impressive display of electronics in BSO’s Real Time Crime Center is connected to more than 19,000 cameras throughout the county.
The crime prevention technology was spawned from tragedy and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.
“We built this facility out so we can have better access to camera systems in our schools. And it really has grown beyond that,” explained Sheriff Gregory Tony.
And so has the facility. Once just 400-square feet of space, it has blossomed into this.
“We stole this concept. This is not new in the sense of what real time crime centers are supposed to do. We learned. One of our leads here is Capt. Regio – came out of New York City post 9/11, where he had a lot of experience building out their system,” said Tony. “So when he came into the organization, it just made sense, ‘OK, we have some hard lessons learned. We lost 17 people on our watch.'”
And now every school in Broward is outfitted with cameras – in classrooms, halls, outside of buildings.
“If there’s an incident at a school, let’s say the call is coming in of shots fired at a baseball field, the guys can click on the map, click on the closest camera and the 16 closest cameras to that will all open up at the same time and they can provide intelligence to the responding units,” explained Fernandez.
The center now has access to cameras at houses of worship, businesses and gas stations. Beginning this month, homeowners can become part of the system.
The cameras used would only be lenses pointed in public areas – nothing private.
Lt. Fernandez guarantees in the last 2 years the system helped avoid some sort of mass incident.
Stopping just one crime, the system is deemed a success – but it’s reach goes beyond that.
“We’ve investigated 1,600 individuals that may have exhibited some type of threat to the community,” said Tony, “200-plus of those resulted in arrests.”
If you live in Broward and have home security, you can now be a part of this program.
Just go to the BSO website and look for public-private partnership.
The sheriff told Jones he’s looking to make the program even more prolific and has allocated $10 million to build it out even further.