Tampa Police Deploy Revolutionary Crime Fighting Tool During RNCNew Technology Helped Prevent Spike in Crime While Officers Focused on RNC

03/18/15


Chief Jane Castor held a news conference with Asst Chief John Bennet and software developer Rob Wolf to unveil the revolutionary technology to the public
Chief Jane Castor held a news conference with Asst Chief John Bennet and NC4 software developer Rob Wolf to unveil the revolutionary technology to the public

As the City of Tampa prepared for its first ever National Special Security Event, the Tampa Police Department quietly deployed a cutting edge technology to ensure its citizens stayed safe during the event. It’s called SAFECOP and it arms officers with critical crime data while they are out on patrol. This high speed information sharing is revolutionary and more importantly it will enable officers to solve crimes faster. Typically during large scale events, cities experience an increase in crime while law enforcement focuses on the event. But during the RNC, Tampa’s crime rate actually dropped 26%. The new technology developed by NC4 allowed patrol officers to police smarter. They achieved this reduction even though there were 20% fewer detectives, crime analysts and plain clothes ROC officers helping them investigate cases.
Continuously Updated Crime Maps
As officers drive through a zone, their in-car computers display a map of where crimes have occurred. Each type of crime, such as robberies or auto thefts, show up in color coded symbols. The maps update moments after a crime takes place. This allows officers to quickly identify emerging crime patterns. One touch of the screen and cops see the known offenders who live in the area. Officers can search by offender categories; career criminals, sexual predators and juvenile offenders. This real-time awareness will keep citizens and officers safer. It may also set a new standard in law enforcement. This is the first system to provide officers with such critical information so quickly.
High Speed Crime Bulletins
Officers can download surveillance video, capture a screen shot of the suspect and instantaneously create a crime bulletin to share throughout the department, region or state. Previously, this process could take several hours or even days. SAFECOP gives officers a way to share urgent crime information without relying on email.

Information Sharing through Officer Blog
Cops can share investigative leads, possible suspect information and case developments with officers and supervisors on the next shift. This keeps the case active around the clock until it is solved.
TPD Spurred the Project
The idea to build the new technology was born more than two years ago in the department’s weekly crime meetings. Commanders and analysts had mastered the science of tracking crime and repeat offenders, but the processing and mapping of that data took time. Assistant Chief John Bennett championed the idea that technology was the answer. He believed the same homeland security software that the department already utilized to manage large events could also ensure better case management and ultimately protect Tampa citizens from becoming victims of crime.
Homeland Security Software for Crime Fighting
The Tampa Bay UASI first purchased NC4’s Esponder in 2004 for incident management and information sharing during a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. Chief Jane Castor mandated that all homeland security purchases also be utilized in day to day operations. Tampa Police put Esponder to use managing all large events in the city including Gasparilla parades, Tampa Bay Buccaneer games and the 2009 Super Bowl. The department utilized the RNC security grant to update the system for the Republican National Convention and to build the crime fighting component that launched during the event. The new module cost $400,000 and will be available next year to all nine jurisdictions in the Urban Area Security Initiative; Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Hardee and Port of Manatee
Next Chapter
700 Tampa Police officers are now utilizing SAFECOP which stands for Situational Awareness for Enforcers’-Common Operating Picture. All Tampa Police officers will be trained on the system in the next two weeks.
It currently maps four high volume, pattern crimes; robbery, auto theft burglary and auto burglary. The department plans to add all major crimes early next year



RNC Crime Reduction -26%


Sunday, 8/ 26/11 - Thursday, 8/30/11 349 Offenses

Sunday, 8/26/12-Thursday, 8/30/12 257 Offenses
FBI’s UCR Part 1 and Part 2 Crimes
RNC Staffing
Patrol Full Strength
Detectives & Plain Clothes ROC Officers Down 20%
Analysts and Patrol Supervisors Down 20%


Laura McElroy
TPD PIO
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