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updated: 9/5/2014 5:22 AM

Elgin police test software that could monitor the city in real time

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  • The Elgin Police Department is planning to buy a Real Time Information Center from Motorola that will allow for real-time viewing of cameras in public places such as Festival Park.

       The Elgin Police Department is planning to buy a Real Time Information Center from Motorola that will allow for real-time viewing of cameras in public places such as Festival Park.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A Real Time Information Center is something the Elgin Police Department is looking forward to utilizing.

       A Real Time Information Center is something the Elgin Police Department is looking forward to utilizing.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Elgin Police Department wants to buy new technology that will integrate data, radio and video for real-time monitoring of activities ranging from crimes in progress to reports of people in distress in the Fox River.

The city would enter into a "cutting-edge technological partnership" with Motorola Solutions, which built what the department calls the Real Time Information Center, or "The RIC," police Cmdr. Ana Lalley said.

The software has the capability to integrate elements such as video from cameras throughout the city, squad cars, the police records management and radio systems, and the computer-aided dispatch center, Lalley said.

Testing of the platform has included cameras at Festival Park, the Kimball Street dam, the water facility on Slade Avenue, the public works building on Holmes Road, and the lobby of the police department, Elgin Sgt. Jim Bisceglie said.

"It's one centralized view and centralized location," Lalley said. "It gives us the opportunity to deliver critical situations to first responders."

The software -- including storage -- costs just less than $160,000, an expense unanimously approved last week by the Elgin City Council's committee of the whole.

The system could be expanded -- upon mutual agreement -- to include cameras owned by private businesses, cameras owned by the Kane County Department of Transportation along Randall Road in Elgin, and cameras inside schools in Elgin Area School District U-46, Lalley said.

"We're thinking broader picture and how we could do it, but we haven't had formal discussions about it," she said.

The city is getting a discount off the software's $405,000 price tag thanks to its partnership with Motorola, officials said. The purchase would be funded with drug asset forfeiture money, Lalley said.

The system -- called the Real Time Intelligence Console -- is "a true integration platform," said Shelly Williams, senior product manager for Motorola's intelligence-led policing division.

"We developed a set of tools that will enable (Elgin) to be more proactive in using technology to police their community," she said. "We'll also be doing a lot of development work with them."

The RIC software includes the ability to police social media, Williams said.

"For example, in a fight at a high school between two different gang factions, you can imagine the burst of social media information," she said. "That should be a trigger alert that goes right into a policing organization."

After getting such an alert, RIC operators could examine video feeds from cameras inside the school for a real-time look at the situation, she said.

The system also would be capable of streaming from officers' cellphones on the scene, Bisceglie said.

Councilman John Steffen said some residents might be concerned about privacy issues.

All users of the system would have their own login ID, and their activity would be fully traceable, Bisceglie said. Video likely would be stored for about seven days.

"We don't know where the end zone is on this," Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said. "It's going to keep moving as video and technology keeps moving."

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