Schaumburg police plan to expand real-time monitoring system, say it has proved its usefulness

Schaumburg trustees are poised to accept a $175,000 grant for the expansion of a sophisticated monitoring system that has already provided useful information for police in more than 200 cases in the Woodfield area in the 11 months since its activation.

The Real-Time Information Center was created with a similar grant of $552,000 in federal money allocated through Cook County and went live last Thanksgiving weekend.

"It integrates all the resources and data that we have into one system," Schaumburg Police Chief Bill Wolf said.

This includes video from village cameras and those of participating businesses, Automated License Plate Recognition systems, live traffic data, dispatch data, weather conditions, and GPS mapping of on-duty police and fire department personnel.

So far, the system has led to an arrest or yielded significant evidence in the investigation of a crime 102 times, Wolf said.

One such occasion involved the robbery of shoes in a transaction that had been arranged online. Police entered a description and license plate number obtained from the victim into the system. They got a hit on the vehicle and made an arrest when it returned to Schaumburg a short time later.

A less serious but equally useful demonstration occurred when a car was reported stolen from the parking lot of Woodfield Mall. The Real-Time Information Center was able to backtrack to video of the car's arrival and showed it had been parked on the other side of the mall from where its owner went to look for it.

Many vehicle collisions involve conflicting versions of what happened from the drivers involved. Video obtained from the new system has resolved such disputes for traffic investigators, Wolf said.

The village's public safety committee Thursday gave its unanimous recommendation for the full village board to formally accept the grant money for expansion of the system from Cook County on Oct. 25.

"We thought that was very advantageous for the village," said Trustee Frank Kozak, who chairs the committee. "This has been very useful in solving problems and settling he-said-she-said disputes."

Wolf said the expansion potentials may not be confined to just moving the current uses to other areas of the village. Other possibilities include providing information on road, building and traffic conditions, spotting tornadoes and overseeing code enforcement issues.

Data sharing with neighboring jurisdictions also would be possible if and when they establish similar systems.

Village officials intend to make decisions on avenues of expansion soon and begin implementing them early in the new year, Wolf said.

Both the initial and expansion grants originated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Urban Area Security Initiative, which provides funding for the nation's most heavily populated and economically significant areas.

Schaumburg's specific allocations were awarded through the Cook County Department of Regional Security and Emergency Management.

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