LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says they are seeing tremendous success with their high-tech intelligence unit.
Officially, it's called the Technical Operations Section.
The room at the Las Vegas Metro Police headquarters looks like something from your favorite crime show drama.
TV monitors line the walls with all types of information along with rows of computer monitors that display dozens of high-definition cameras scattered around the valley.
Las Vegas Police say this is the future of policing.
"These are officers and civilian specialists who specialize in combating crime from behind a keyboard," said Lt. Dori Koren.
There are no guns and tasers but instead cameras and technology.
Lt. Koren says his Technical Operations Section is solving crimes and giving police on the streets a real-world advantage in their virtual setting.
A network of public safety cameras, shot spotter technology that can listen and detect the location of gunfire in the valley, plus facial recognition software and automated license plate reader databases, all come together inside the Fusion Watch Center.
"This is a perfect example of integrating technologies to solve crime in real time," said Lt. Koren.
Lt. Koren said the center has directed officers to stolen vehicles, domestic violence suspects, indecent exposure incidents on the strip, and other serious crimes.
"We have used this technology to identify two robbery series suspects," explained Lt. Koren.
"One of them, there were 13 incidents that happened and those incidents continued to happened without any kind of repercussion for the suspects, because we had no other leads, until we deployed facial recognition," said Lt. Koren.
The specialized unit is using facial recognition software that can compare suspect images in crimes to a database of past arrests.
Lt. Koren stresses the database is limited and only those suspected of committing a crime are inputted for potential identification.
The department has access to Regional Transportation Commission buses to monitor crime in real-time.
Lt. Koren said despite the ability to see situations like never before, privacy remains paramount.
"For the average citizen who is not involved in any kind of time or activity and happens to get recorded at one point or another, that data never gets stored or saved beyond our normal retention period," said Lt. Koren.
Lt. Koren said as new technologies emerge, the department carefully reviews any possible privacy issues as it balances rights to privacy while catching criminals who terrorize the community.