Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

CMPD retains security gear after convention

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Steve Harrison
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com sharrison@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte’s $50 million federal DNC security grant left the city with millions of dollars of new police equipment, including surveillance equipment and software that is being used after the convention.

The city released a detailed account of security Tuesday, 10 months after the event. Previously CMPD had only released general reports on spending that were heavily redacted.

CMPD spent the most money on routine items such as new helmets, bikes, fencing and radios.

But included in the report are hundreds of thousands of dollars of technology, such as $79,000 on IX Reveal computer software. An article in the magazine Homeland Security Today says the software can analyze tweets, Facebook posts and blog entries to “discover, trends, patterns, relationships and anomalies.”

Monroe told the Observer that software the department purchased is used to more efficiently search across internal police databases like correlating computer-aided dispatch records with a records managing system.

“We do data mining, but we do data mining based on our own systems,” Monroe said. “We have the ability to bring all of those systems together … it’s technology to be able to search our systems faster.”

CMPD spent $1.764 million on a wireless video camera system from Washington D.C.-based Avrio RMS Group.

The report said “CMPD maintained unparalleled real time information sharing and situational awareness through the use of state-of-the-art technologies.”

It added that the police command center and CMPD Video Observation Center Intelligence Office monitored over 600 wireless and wired surveillance cameras. The report also said the city had four new high-definition cameras that allowed officers to zoom in on “suspicious objects or persons and to deploy field forces appropriately.”

The four new HD cameras cost $98,600.

Police say they’ve begun redeploying the cameras to high-crime areas. And earlier this year, Monroe told city council members about a plan to link cameras owned by private businesses into the department’s network, extending the reach of the department’s electronic eye.

The department also spent $589,131 on 95 license plate readers from NDI Technologies. The Charlotte Department of Transportation spent $72,432 installing the license plate readers and wireless video cameras.

The city also spent $110,000 leasing a Spot Spotter gunfire detection system, which places microphones in strategic locations to quickly identify gunfire. CMPD is still using Spot Spotter today in some high-crime neighborhoods.

In a Department of Justice audit, the CMPD’s use of technology was praised.

The DOJ report noted that the police monitored 16 social media Web sites and intelligence databases/watch lists for the convention.

Overall, CMPD spent about $3.06 million on technology for the DNC.

That doesn’t include about $3.9 million spent on a command center for the convention, which was used to monitor the video cameras and other sources of information. CMPD spent $2.7 million on its “video management system, display wall, audio video and camera deployment,” according to the report.

Other expenses:

The department spent $910,000 on avionics upgrades for two helicopters; $1.889 million on new helmets, chest protectors, shin guards and other equipment; $416,000 for 302 new police bikes; and $1.85 million on handheld radios and ear pieces.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases