CALCASIEU PARISH, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office has launched its Real Time Crime Center, with Sheriff Tony Mancuso calling it the future of law enforcement. He says it has been fully operational for the last six months; fully staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With this multi-million dollar project, CPSO can see where every unit is located in the parish. Mancuso says since they are linked to 911, they can see where other law enforcement agencies’ units across the parish are as well. Mancuso says CPSO cannot tap into the other agencies’ vehicles like they can CPSO units. In the Real Time Crime Center, they can pull up CPSO officers’ dashcams and body cams. There is also a live camera installed in the backseat of the vehicles. Mancuso says when the officers do not have time to respond to dispatch, their audio can be turned on and listened to. They can also communicate with deputies on the road. CPSO can also monitor its plane activity while it is in the air.
“It’s something you would normally see in big cities,” Mancuso said. “With the growth here in Calcasieu Parish, with what we deal with, we felt like it was important to get with the times and open a Real Time Crime Center here.”
He says when an officer pulls someone over and ask the driver’s name, those working in the Real Time Crime Center can run the name in a database to make sure the driver is providing the officer with correct information.
“Let’s say the driver says they don’t have a driver’s license,” Mancuso said. “They can start running the name of the person. They can switch to social media to see if the person has a Facebook page and start to monitor that. Any information we can find out and what’s going on with that particular person. This takes what dispatch doesn’t have time to do and does it for officers. The purpose is to solve crimes faster and more efficiently.”
Sheriff Mancuso says this project has been in the works for over two years. He says it started with purchasing the equipment needed: software, computers, and LSRs (license plate readers) to place across the parish. He says their partnership with Neighbors by Ring is used as well.
“A lot of people see these and think we have installed cameras all over the parish,” Mancuso said. “There are no cameras videotaping people in our community other than normal cameras that businesses have and public entities at parks and things like that, which is important to the Real Time Crime Center, but we invested in LPRs. The license plate readers are not like what you see in other communities where they send you an e-ticket. This is for law enforcement use only. These are not sending out tickets to people with violations. It is to look for specific vehicles that we may be looking for and for stolen vehicles.”
Mancuso says last year, from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, CPSO recovered 37 stolen vehicles. This year, since July 1, 2019, they have recovered 44.
“So it’s working,” Mancuso said. “It basically takes all computer and video-generated information, like evidence, and funnels it through this location to give to the deputies in real-time to try to solve cases quicker. Right now, technology is solving crimes for us.”
Mancuso says the goal is to continue to expand the center and partner with other law enforcement agencies across the parish, as many of their cases run together.
“It’s not just for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office,” Mancuso said. “Other agencies are looking to us for help. My vision is to have a representative from other agencies at some point be involved and have people either through a contract with us, have a dedicated person just for them here, or if they want to send one of their people over here, either way, we are ok with that. We do those types of partnerships all the time.”
Mancuso says the Real Time Crime Center also takes and analyzes crime patterns in the parish.
“If we have a rash of burglaries, whether it be residential or business, vehicle burglaries it doesn’t really matter, we take that information and predict if things are going to happen in the next couple of days based on these patterns and what’s going on,” Mancuso said. “They can feed information to patrol to put extra patrols in those areas or detectives to try and solve the case. It’s basically intelligence-driven, basically to disseminate intelligence that we are gathering from all these sources whether it be from video surveillance or social media or LPRs it’s taking all this information and intelligence gathering to feed to patrolmen that’s on the street in real-time that needs it right then or detectives who are following up on investigations to help solve a crime. ”
He says the main thing he wants Calcasieu Parish residents to take away from the Real Time Crime Center is it will help law enforcement gather information and help solve crimes quicker and more efficiently.
“The criminals should be concerned,” Mancuso said. “We have invested millions of dollars to make sure they do not have the upper hand on us and we are going to continue to do that. People expect a certain level of performance from their law enforcement and in today’s world if we are going to solve crimes. This is the wave of the future.”
Mancuso says the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is the only law enforcement agency in the state that runs its own Real Time Crime Center.