The Aurora City Council will hear a presentation at its study session Monday for creating a real-time crime center where police can monitor cameras, read license plates, and receive gunshot reports from monitoring stations.
“The Aurora Police Department has made significant investments in technology platforms that enhance our ability to identify offenders, locate suspect vehicles, and generate investigative leads,” states a memo from city staff to the council. “The mesh camera network and automated license plate reader system have repeatedly proven their value and are often the first places investigators look when working a case. Likewise, our members have access to multiple resources that can provide relevant historical data to aid their response to calls for service.”
The trouble is, the data is not monitored in real time, according to the memo. “Unfortunately, these resources are most often utilized long after the crime has occurred and are of limited use to officers responding to in-progress calls. Creating a centralized location where disparate technology systems are actively monitored will prove to be a force multiplier for the Aurora Police Department. It will provide officers, detectives, and supervisors with real-time operational intelligence, allowing them to make better informed decisions quickly. This increased situational awareness improves the efficiency of the response and raises the level of safety for both officers and the community.”
Three-year, $3.7 million investment
The real-time crime center will give Aurora a way to pursue relationships with community partners through the sharing of information and technological resources, the memo explains.
In the memo, the police department estimates it will cost the city $668,000 in 2023 for Fusus camera integration software, automated license plate reader system replacement, and gunshot detection technology. In 2024, up to $1,607,182 will be needed for Fusus camera integration software, automated license plate reader system replacement, and gunshot detection. Additionally, 10 civilian full-time equivalents and equipment for their work area would be added.
In 2025, up to $1,492,182 will be needed for Fusus camera software, automated license plate reader system replacement, gunshot detection, and civilian salaries.
The request is considered a late submission to the council. In accompanying paperwork, Administrative Supervisor Danelle Carrel wrote, “This is key to improving our crime fighting capacity and desperately needed with the summer months upon us, and the current staffing challenges. We do not have any time to spare and need to move on procurement as soon as possible.”
Gunshot detection controversial in Denver
In a presentation to the council, Lt. D.J. Tisdale reports police received 1,106 calls for shots fired between Jan. 1, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2023.
Gunshot detection technology has been somewhat controversial in Denver. Several speakers at council meetings last year said the technology encourages race-based policing because it has been placed in areas with gun violence where minorities live. ShotSpotter monitors 14 out of 110 square miles in the city.
But City Council member Chris Hinds challenged that assumption. His district, District 10, which is 80 percent white, has ShotSpotter technology.
An expanded communications center
Aurora plans to eventually operate the real-time crime center 20 hours per day, seven days a week, according to the presentation. The police department will search for a larger space to house increased staff and expand the functionality for use as a command center.
Upon completion of a third phase in 2025, the city will explore a capital project that “can include expanded space for a 24/7 real-time crime center, increased capacity for Aurora 911, an emergency operations center, and a public works operations center for monitoring traffic, water, and other infrastructure systems,” according to the presentation. “The goal is to create a state-of-the-art facility that promotes the effective use of technology to improve the city’s ability to deliver essential services to our community.”