Bay County secures new crime-solving technology

Bay County, Florida (WMBB) – All six Bay County law enforcement agencies have teamed up to provide a state-of-the-art technology system to fight crime.

It’s called the “Real-Time Bay Operations Center” or “BAYROC”.

It uses real-time technology such as traffic cameras to provide information to law enforcement to help solve crimes.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said a good example of how the system is used is that if a crime occurs on the beach, they can use BAYROC to track a person’s car through other areas of the county, track that car and pass information to the law. responsible enforcement body.

“It uses an integrated system that integrates school cameras, road cameras, business cameras and license plate readers, as well as other resources and databases available to law enforcement,” Ford said.

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BAYROC is in the BCSO. It currently employs two staff analysts and a manager.

The goal is to provide real-time information that can be passed directly to law enforcement to help solve crimes. BAYROC became operational in November 2021.

Since then, local law enforcement has already been successful with the program.

“By contacting an analyst, we were able to track down an elderly woman who had early dementia, who was tracked across the county and ended up in Alabama,” said Springfield Police Chief Barry Roberts. “It’s a great program.”

BAYROC can also locate all law enforcement vehicles compared to the location of service calls.

Bay County agencies used the combined money to pay for the system.

Agency officials said communication would be key to the operation.

“We have such a good relationship with our police departments and we are all working on the same goal that we are able to do it all and work together,” Sheriff Ford said.

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Ford said they are aware of the privacy concerns. He said license plate reading technology could not really identify the driver, only the numbers. The rest needs to be done using other law enforcement files.

“License plate readers, they don’t identify who you are when you drive,” Sheriff Ford said. “It basically captures an image of your license plate and launches it into a hotlist, which is a list of tag numbers that are already associated with criminals or Amber Alerts.”

Cameras have been used in Bay District schools for years, and traffic cameras are available to the public on the county website. Ford said they have a short shelf life.

In the next few months, BCSO plans to expand the operations center to accommodate up to eight analysts.

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