TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs unveiled the department's new "real-time crime center" Thursday.
The department is implementing a network of 42 cameras across the city that feed video to a centralized monitoring center. The cameras have been going up since summer and target high-crime areas running 24/7. For months, video collected from the cameras has been recorded. Now the real-time crime center is live.
Video from the cameras remains in the system for a minimum of 14 days, but is also monitored live by officers. The system is called Observation Research and Intelligence Operations Network, or ORION for short.
"We know that we still have to be able to have the personnel power on the street but this also helps with that particular task that they have of being able to protect people," said Mayor Mike Bell.
At each of the 20 locations, there are two cameras on each unit, plus two mobile trailer cameras, meaning the department can move them to any location.
-Jefferson and Huron
-Washington and Huron
-Adams and 17th
-Walnut and Michigan
-Locust and Ontario
-Lagrange and Huron
-Lagrange and Sherman
-Lagrange and Mettler
-Mulberry and Page
-Bancroft and Ashland
-Bancroft and Franklin
-Lawrence and Delaware
-Detroit and Monroe
-Dorr and Hoag
-Earl and Butler
-Earl and Rogers
-Bancroft and Kent
-Starr and Steadman
-Navarre and Oak
"The police department has made a major commitment in the area of video surveillance. This piece in the overall data-driven strategy will not only help up solve crimes, but will also help make areas safer where these cameras are deployed," said Diggs.
Each camera has 36-time zoom capability and can pan, but will not be able to detect gunshots yet. Also coming soon is a total of about 160 cameras. There will be 42 more by the end of the year and the final 80 or so will come after the start of the new year.
Chief Diggs says the addition of the cameras is policing in a new era of keeping the city safe, not to invade privacy.
"It's to drive down crime. That's the purpose. That's the only purpose. We're not putting them in a situation where we can look in people's houses. We're not trying to disrupt anyone's private life. The only reason we're using this project is to help drive down crime," explained Diggs.
Some Toledoans feel the lens is a sign of Big Brother, while others think it's nothing new. Some residents are less convinced cameras rolling will stop bullets from flying, but residents in dangerous neighborhoods, such as Greenbelt, say they welcome the watchful eye and wish it could have found its way into their neighborhood sooner.
Chief Diggs said there have been some instances where a fight or crime was caught on camera and officers were able to catch that and move on it.