When time is of the essence and lives are on the line, it is the job of law enforcement to respond to an incident quickly, decisively and effectively. With the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy still weighing heavily on our minds, Broward residents are unfortunately all too aware that any delay in action can cost lives.
Since taking leadership of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, my team and I developed and implemented proactive public safety initiatives to keep our schools safe. Our efforts have proven to be pivotal in strengthening our school security.
Our mission is far from complete. We are always striving to improve and stay at the forefront of emerging technology — utilizing every resource available and maximizing its impact. Recently, we launched the brand new, state-of-the-art Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) — a powerful crime fighting and crime prevention center that is safeguarding our schools.
The RTCC gives us the ability to monitor real life situations in real time, Today, BSO has direct access to live video feeds, monitoring nearly 10,000 cameras in more than 260 public schools and administrative buildings, with plans in the works with Broward County Public Schools to add several thousand more in the near future. Should an incident arise, we begin working a case as soon as it’s reported — saving valuable time. It has the capability of protecting lives and preventing incidents of mass violence.
The center is equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows us to identify and investigate potentially dangerous threats to our community better and take swift and effective action to neutralize the threat and mitigate damage. Because of the RTCC, we can obtain critical information and relay it to the responding deputies within minutes or even seconds — far less time and much more accurate than in the past.
Originally housed in a 350 square foot office space at the Public Safety Building, the new RTCC operates in a 2,600 square foot area. It has a 40-foot front-video wall, a 16-foot side-video wall and 20 workstations for RTCC personnel. The estimated total cost for the RTCC is $2 million. It is being paid for by reappropriating funds within our budget and acquiring grants.
Since January, the RTCC has conducted roughly 150 drills within Broward County Public Schools to test the camera system. RTCC personnel have also monitored and given tactical guidance to officers at the scene of numerous incidents within the schools, including lockdowns for crimes happening on and off school property.
Though focused right now on our schools, we are seeking to expand into partnerships with private businesses, houses of worship and anyone interested in protecting their community. If you would like to participate, please visit us at https://www.sheriff.org/Documents/RTCCvideoShareInterestForm.pdf.
Service Equals RewardSheriff Gregory Tony