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Crime Monitoring Center Allows Police To Keep Watch on Much of Louisville

A new crime monitoring center was eerily quiet Tuesday afternoon as a report of a shooting in west Louisville came in across the police scanner—but officials say it very soon could begin providing authorities with useful information in real time during those types of situations.The center, coming with a price tag of nearly $400,000, gives a set of civilian analysts the ability to monitor 82 cameras across the city and contact police with information regarding criminal activity or an ongoing investigation.Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said the center, which will be in operation 24 hours a day and seven days a week beginning Sunday, is a valuable asset to the department’s crime fighting efforts.“What might take a detective a couple of days of legwork to run down, the (analysts) can run it down in a matter of minutes and push it back out,” he said.  “That frees the detectives up to use that time more effectively and really, really gives us a chance to work truly smarter than what we’ve ever been able to do so before.”Conrad said the analysts, using cameras and other “tactical intelligence,” will be able to assist officers on the street in a myriad of ways.He said the center will “help identify possible suspects, help identify possible targets of retaliation, they’re going to be able to provide information about the location of where people might end up running.”Though the center is not yet “officially operational,” Conrad said, it has already assisted in at least “a couple of arrests.”Jennifer Corum, who will direct the center, said a vehicle that was reported stolen was recently recovered via information provided by the crime center.When asked about the shooting that was taking place on Garland Avenue during the center’s unveiling to the media, Corum wouldn’t “go into specifics” about how the center is assisting the police in that particular situation, but did say the analysts were “looking into it” and providing officers with “whatever pertinent data they could find.”Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the center would not have been installed so soon had it not of been for the  teenage violence thatswept through the downtown area on an evening in March.“You saw all the things we’ve done, but this is one of the things that was high on the list,” he said.“The real time crime center is truly one of the positive outcomes that came out of that terrible evening on March 22,” said Conrad.The footage from the 82 cameras that can be monitored at the center is stored on a protected hard drive at MetroSafe headquarters, said LMPD Detective Brandon Lincoln, with the department’s technical operations unit. Corum said the footage, which can be used as evidence in a court or investigation, will be kept for 30 days.Lincoln said more cameras are expected to be installed around the city, but was unsure where or when they will operational.  Funding is being sought to upgrade older cameras, he also added.  A single camera, like the ones installed at Waterfront Park, costs about $4,000, Lincoln said.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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