On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
81°
Cloudy
H 78° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    81°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 78° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    67°
    Morning
    Cloudy. H 78° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    78°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 81° L 61°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Behind the scenes: Jacksonville’s Real-Time Crime Center
Close

Behind the scenes: Jacksonville’s Real-Time Crime Center

Behind the scenes: Jacksonville’s Real-Time Crime Center
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Behind the scenes: Jacksonville’s Real-Time Crime Center

As Jacksonville continues to explore how to fight back against violent crime, WOKV is getting a closer look at one of the newest systems police believe will help not only their immediate response, but their investigation that follows.

IN DEPTH: Jacksonville’s Real-Time Crime Center

WOKV was the first station to take you in depth on the RTCC proposal several months ago, outlining a pilot process, which the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was already planning to move beyond. Sheriff Mike Williams says they have 20 cameras deployed right now and are planning for 80 more before the year is up. This year’s budget allows for four hires dedicated to the RTCC, and two of those are currently on board.

“It’s more about us measuring our approach to this, taking our time, make sure we’re doing it right. We don’t want to put too much in too fast, and then have to pull back. So we’re taking our time in that,” Williams says.

JSO walked WOKV and our partner Action News Jax through the system, which centers on a software called CommandCentral Aware, that serves to streamline various data streams for quick and easy use by an analyst. The analyst hears dispatch audio and can see the notes from the dispatcher. The system can be set up to flag certain types of incidents, and automatically detects other useful resources- like ShotSpotter- that may be in the area. If there are cameras in that radius, they are triggered by the system, meaning it is no longer up to people to monitor potentially hundreds of camera feeds.


All of that information can help first responders and the very early investigation, and an analyst can even proactively monitor the video feeds for any suspicious circumstances. But the system is also used in the long-running work.

Surveillance footage can be downloaded and put in to another RTCC program which lets the analyst overlay video from different times and search for key features. If they have some suspect attributes to search for, that could mean taking two hours worth of surveillance and processing it in minutes, as opposed to needing officers to review it manually.

Williams says information like this has already helped in four or five priority cases, although he declined to say which. He says having the video can be invaluable when there is not a lot of witness testimony or there are conflicting accounts, because where they would previously have to sort through the statements and make judgement calls, they now have easily accessible and searchable video that can help point their investigation in the right direction.

“It gives us some very powerful analytical tools to be able to look through video, look for- again- people on bicycles, a white van, whatever it is that we’re looking for, and really shrink that time down that we’re spending on looking at and watching video kind of roll. The system will do that for us. And, again, that puts us quicker to whatever logical conclusion we’re looking for- are we catching a bad guy quicker, are we recovering a child quicker. All those things that you can imagine, you get out of something like this,” Williams says.


Analysts are also able to search historically, meaning they can go back and see surveillance from an overnight incident, when the station was unmanned. Currently, the RTCC does not operate 24-hours because of the limited staffing, but Williams says they hope to be in that posture some time next year. That also means increasing from the one current work station to four overall- one more would join the station that’s already set up at the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, and two would be at the Police Memorial Building, which is JSO’s headquarters Downtown.

As they build up those hours, they’re also looking at continuing to build out the capabilities. The plan and budget is 100 cameras this year, with the early focus being pairing cameras with ShotSpotter locations, City parks, and Downtown. Williams says they could look to add even more cameras in the future, and while data would drive the decision on where those are placed, he believes areas like the 103rd Street corridor would be on the list.

Once they’re more established, Williams says they will also look at adding cameras feeds that don’t belong to JSO. Internet-based cameras have the ability to feed in to the RTCC, so Williams says they’ve already been in talks with businesses about gaining access to their surveillance feeds to use if there are incidents in that area. He says they could seek the same types of arrangements with home surveillance and City cameras as well. The City is in the process of upgrading hundreds of surveillance cameras, and the proposal that’s been put forward would ensure the new cameras can network as JSO would need.

Stephanie Brown
Close

Real-Time Crime Center

Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

The growth within JSO’s own system requires additional funding. About $3 million has been put in to this project so far according to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, and he says he’s willing to back investing in more, if it’s shown that that’s what’s needed. He says he and Williams have not yet talked about what the budget request for the next fiscal year will be, but prevention, intervention, and enforcement are all important elements that need investment in order to better public safety.

IN DEPTH: Jacksonville’s $1.2 billion budget

“This is another tool that’s gunna set the foundation not only for today, success today- the Sheriff talked about some of the success today- but even bigger success in the future, as we build this out. ShotSpotter, NIBIN, the way all this integrates, this is all a collective effort to have another tool to solve the problem,” he says.

And while the City is using tools like this and exploring non-policing measures like Cure Violence as well, Curry says it’s important to keep traditional means strong.

“We can make these investments in manpower and technology and people and after school programs and summer programs, but individual people are still making bad decisions. And so, we can’t force them to make good decisions. All we can do is invest in the enforcement to get them off the street, and then invest in the young people to make sure they make good decisions,” Curry says.

The RTCC also monitors the demands on JSO overall, through mapping of calls by incident type, tracking overall call volume, and more.

Stephanie Brown
Close

Real-Time Crime Center

Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Curry says he knows it can be frustrating to see violence continue in the community while everything comes together, especially spikes like last weekend, when four people were killed and five others hurt in seven separate shooting incidents.

“Over the long term, you’re gunna get the results that you want. You can’t throw stuff against the wall and change a strategy and your way forward every time there’s a terrible tragic event,” he says.

Williams believes that within a year and a half, they will have the camera coverage and systems in place to truly maximize on the potential of the RTCC. 

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the community's help finding a missing 10-year-old. JSO says Sam Booker was last seen walking out from his classroom at Long Branch Elementary on Franklin Street around 1:00 PM Tuesday. Due to the circumstances involved, police say they want to make sure he's safe.  Booker is described as being 4'6'' tall, 60 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Police say he was wearing a red hoodie, blue jeans, and red and white shoes.  If you've seen him or know where he is, you're urged to call the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500.
  • President Donald Trump has announced he commuted the sentence for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He made the announcement at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to a group of reporters. Blagojevich had been sentenced to 14-years in prison after being found guilty of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Barack Obama became president, CNBC reported. Blagojevich tried to trade money and favors for the position. Trump told the reporters that the disgraced governor “served eight years in jail. It’s a long time to go,” CNN reported. Trump also tied Blagojevich’s prosecution to former FBI Director James Comey who is a friend of Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Illinois who prosecuted Blagojevich, a Democrat. “It was a prosecution by the same people -- Comey, Fitzpatrick -- the same group,” the president said, according to CNN. Trump identified Fitzgerald as Fizpatrick when he spoke to reporters. Trump had said that he was toying with the idea of using the clemency powers for Blagojevich in August and before, but conservatives in Congress fired back. Blagojevich appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” television show in 2010, CNN reported. Despite the connection, Trump said he didn’t know him well, but saw Blagojevich’s wife asking for clemency on television. Blagojevich had been serving the sentence since 2013, CNBC reported. Trump also pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, he announced to reporters. Kerik, who was NYPD commissioner during 9/11, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to investigators, both federal charges. He was sentenced to four years behind bars in 2009, CBS News reported. Trump also pardoned billionaire Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges in 1998, CBS News reported. Trump also pardoned Michael Milken, CNBC reported. The news organization called Milken “former junk bond king who became a face of the insider trading financial scandals of the 1980s.” Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was fined $600 million, but the time behind bars was cut to two years after he cooperated with federal investigators, CNBC reported. Milken had pleaded guilty to violating U.S. securities laws, The Associated Press reported. The presidential orders came days before adviser Roger Stone is expected to be sentenced on his conviction of seven charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering, CNN reported. He has asked for a new trial. When asked if he would consider pardoning Stone, Trump responded, “I haven’t given it any thought,” The New York Times reported.
  • The Boy Scouts of America said Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the organization faces numerous sexual abuse lawsuits. In an early morning news release, the organization said it hoped to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.” 'Tragically, there have been times when individuals took advantage of the BSA’s programs to harm children,' the news release said. 'The BSA firmly believes that a proposed Victims Compensation Trust structure is the best means of compensating victims in a way that is equitable and protects their identities.' During the process, the organization’s programs, meetings, activities, service projects and other events will continue “for many years to come,” the release said. “The BSA fully intends to maintain its commitments to its members, families, volunteer leaders, employees, retirees, donors and alumni to the fullest extent permitted by bankruptcy laws,” the organization added. In a letter to participants’ families, the organization also clarified that local councils have not filed for bankruptcy and “are legally separate, distinct and financially independent.” It also stressed that Boy Scouts of America has ramped up background checks and “developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.” Read more here.
  • Officials are looking for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old girl at a park in Cupertino, California, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to the Sacramento Bee, the incident happened Sunday morning as a group of visitors walked in Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve. The animal “came out of the bushes and ... grabbed a hold of the girl,” Ranger Brad Pennington told KGO-TV. An adult who was with the group punched the mountain lion, striking its ribs, the outlets reported. The girl suffered minor puncture wounds, officials said. Authorities have closed the park until they find the animal, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A woman in her 80’s died in a three car crash on A1A and L’Atrium in Ponte Vedra Beach on Monday night. According to Florida Highway Patrol, a vehicle headed north on A1A collided with a car that was making a left turn from A1A to L’Atrium Drive. A third car sustained minor damage from flying debris.  82-year-old Sarita May of Ponte Vedra Beach, who was a passenger in one of the cars, died. The driver, 74-year-old David Sparrow, sustained critical injuries.  The other drivers involved had minor injuries.  FHP says charges are pending additional investigation. 

The Latest News Videos