Dames outlines technology upgrades
Industry-leading security technology company AE Tactical and its partner Axon will provide the 200 body-worn and 200 dash cameras to the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), National Security Minister Marvin Dames said during his 2019/2020 budget contribution.
“I am pleased to announce that after several months of local testing by different companies, an RFP (request for proposal) for the procurement of 200 body-worn and 200 dash cameras to be used by the RBPF was issued,” Dames said in the House of Assembly.
“Last month, Cabinet approved AE Tactical and its partner Axon, global industry leaders, as providers for this technology in the amount of $693,853.
“The contract is being finalized. We expect to sign within a few weeks.”
Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson last month confirmed that the RBPF is actively drafting its policy regarding the use of the body cameras.
He added that he believes that body cameras will bring an added element of transparency to the relationship between the public and the RBPF.
According to police, there were 11 fatal police-involved shootings in 2018.
This year, according to The Nassau Guardian’s records, there have been four police-involved shootings, killing six people.
Moreover, Dames spoke to additional technological advances that are underway.
He added that Forsythe’s Communications Centre has been approved to construct a new communication tower which is already underway.
“Another important technology that we are investing in is the construction of a new communications tower,” Dames said.
“The tower is the communications ‘backbone’ of our nation, and without it, we would not be able to communicate with any of our Family Islands.
“The tower deteriorated to the point where it posed a danger to human life and nearby buildings.
“The police had complained that they were trying to get this most critical piece of infrastructure replaced for some time, but to no avail.
“They, in turn, called on the ‘Do It Team’. Enough said.
“Forsythe’s Communications has received approval for replacement of the tower at a capital investment of $304,000.
“Works have already begun on the replacement tower with an expected completion date within two months.”
Real time crime center
Dames added the government plans to launch a real time crime center in order to optimize the efficiency of the added technological advances.
“In order for all of these new police technologies to work at their most optimum level, they must be housed at one central location,” Dames said.
“In this upcoming fiscal period, our government will be opening a new, state-of-the-art real time crime center.
“The building that will house this center is already undergoing extensive renovations and upgrades at Police Headquarters.
“It will be properly staffed by a cadre of highly trained crime and intelligence analysts (police and civilians) who will provide front line officers and investigators with critical pieces of information – in real time – that will assist them in executing their duties.”
Dames also said that since its inception, the ShotSpotter technology has alerted police to 187 gunshot incidents.
“Since going live in March of this year, ShotSpotter has alerted authorities to 187 gunshot incidents and recorded a total of 572 rounds that were fired,” said Dames.
“Let me be very clear when I say that the benefits of this investment to the police are extensive.
“Response times to firearm incidents has been significantly reduced.
“First, by arriving to a crime scene sooner, police officers have a greater chance of capturing or identifying perpetrators, getting medical care to victims sooner, identifying witnesses and securing valuable evidence.
“Second, this technology is assisting our crime analysts with identifying new hot spots for gun activity — inclusive of time and day of week — thereby allowing divisional commanders to shift their resources, accordingly.
“Third, this technology provides responding units with the exact GPS position of the shooters, rounds fired and if there were multiple shooters.”
Ninety-two sensors are installed in various undisclosed locations throughout New Providence.
When a gun goes off, officers in the mobile unit have a cell phone device, which receives a message indicating when and where the gunshot went off.
Officers in the dispatch unit/control room also receive this alert.
The system picks up simultaneous gunfire at any outdoor location. It, however, cannot be used to detect suppressed gunfire or gunfire within a building or home.
A Bahamian company, Proficient Business Services, has been selected to expand the closed-circuit television (CCTV) program in New Providence, according to Dames.
“This past March our government committed to additional improvements and expansion of the CCTV program in the amount of $5.9 million,” said Dames.
“A local Bahamian company, Proficient Business Services, outperformed other bidders and was selected.
“This company will be responsible for the CCTV expansion through the procurement of an additional 507 high-quality cameras.
“Of the total, 100 of these cameras will come equipped with license plate recognition capabilities, another 100 with facial recognition capabilities, and a further 120 with pan tilt zone capabilities which will be able to capture evidential information in real time.”