Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., along with Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) Commissioner Nominee Ray Martinez, Sen. Steven Payne Sr., Peace Officer Standards and Training Executive Director Gleston McIntosh, and several top-ranking VIPD officers traveled to New York City last week. They met with several public officials and toured the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) facilities to see the latest crime-fighting techniques and technology, and to discuss the strategic use of limited numbers of law enforcement officers in the territory.
While the VIPD is currently deploying its own camera project, Gov. Bryan and the team had an opportunity to visit the Real Time Crime Center (RTCC), which has access to more than 50,000 cameras in New York City that aid in crime prevention, investigative services and anti-terrorism techniques.
The NYPD camera system uses software that can track vehicles and compile information into a form useful for officers to identify and stop criminals. Officers can get real-time information on people and any prior crimes and arrests; they can then correlate the incidents to known accomplices and companions.
“We were on a fact-finding mission to see how we can do more with technology in the law enforcement sector, particularly given our manpower shortage,” Bryan said. “We learned that the implementation of the RTCC reduced crime in New York City by some 50% over the course of its history.
“Locally, VIPD and the Bureau of Information Technology are overseeing a first phase installation of 104 cameras with license plate reading and facial recognition technology throughout the territory. To date, 46 cameras have been installed and are online,” the governor said. “VIPD, along with our federal partners, looks forward to using this technology to combat criminal activity, and we anticipate multiple phases of this project and the addition of hundreds more cameras going forward.”
Martinez said NYPD’s operation and facilities are impressive, and he thanked the department for the discussions with him and his officers.
“I am encouraged by their demonstration that technology can assist us in doing more policing with fewer officers while providing the intel to place officers exactly where they are needed in real-time,” the commissioner nominee said. ”With available federal funding, VIPD looks forward to incorporating updated technology into our crime-fighting strategy.”
Bryan and his team also met with the National Network for Safe Communities to discuss its model for group violence reduction and intervention. This model focuses on strengthening community norms against offending, communicating directly with high-risk people to deter violence, using a minimum of law enforcement, helping group members succeed in their lives, and enhancing the legitimacy of law enforcement, especially police, to make communities safer.
Adopting this model will form the foundation of the upcoming Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP) as well as the Governor’s Advisory Council on Community Violence Intervention.
The Office of the Governor and the Department of Personnel (DOP) are actively recruiting for a Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s director. The application period closes on Sept. 1; interested candidates can apply through Personnel’s website at www.dopusvi.org.