A look at Glendale Police's real-time crime center

We're getting a closer look into how the Glendale Police Department fights crimes and catches criminals in the act.

The department pulled back the curtain to show us its real-time crime center – as the name goes – this department can see a crime happening while in progress.

A massive digital board pops up every 911 call to service, where their officers are currently located, and they also have the ability to tap into more than a thousand cameras across Glendale. 

Those cameras are important because crews in the real-time crime center can watch a situation live, assessing whether a suspect is armed, which direction they’re heading, and whether they’ve made a costume change or hidden a weapon. 

More importantly, they're able to tell this information to responding officers, so they have a heads-up about what they’re heading into. 

In fact, Glendale was the first police department in the state to use this technology. Only a handful of others are using it, such as Scottsdale.

Scottsdale PD's crime center helped save a security guard's life back in May during a violent incident at Scottsdale Quarter.

"Having that ability to just escalate or de-escalate situations, it’s really changed the way we respond to calls for service to be safer, to react quicker, and just really overall be more efficient," Glendale Police Detective Tom Ward said.

Glendale Police Chief Chris Briggs seconds that.

He says, "So instead of everyone going to the crime location, we can break off and we can actually go after the suspect as well."

‘A real game changer’

"Every icon you see with a badge is a call for service that’s coming in," Det. Ward explained.

This center has made all the difference.

"It has become a real game changer for us," Chief Briggs said. "So they’re getting information as it’s happening instead of the 911 information and things can totally change before they get there."

The real-time crime center crew acts as officers' eyes and ears.

"I can virtually beam myself all across the city in a matter of seconds in order to just get eyes on situations before officers do," Det. Ward said. 

The department walked us through three cases where this technology came in handy.

The first was a jewelry store robbery in March 2022. Three suspects ran off in different directions, but Det. Ward was watching.

"The guy actually throws a purple bag in that bush. We later found out that the purple bag had tons of jewelry in it. Initially, he’s got a dark-colored maybe a black hooded sweatshirt on. As quick as that, here’s an outfit change. You can imagine without this system our officers responding wouldn’t know that. He gets a little ways away until we finally get officers over to him," Det. Ward explained.

In the next case, a suspect was trying to escape arrest by hopping fences and climbing roofs. Det. Ward says they watched the live video feed of their police drone to relay info to officers on the ground.

Lastly, in this tragic case from last year, two drivers got into an argument. The suspect in the red car drives off but waits for the other vehicle to pass before opening fire, killing a 7-year-old in the backseat.

"They were so distraught that they really couldn’t give us much of a description," Det. Ward said. "We found out that the suspect vehicle drove through one of our license plate readers, and we were able to get a license plate off of the suspect vehicle, all within a matter of hours versus the weeks it might have taken to get a resolution to that case."

To put things into perspective, Glendale Police say they get more than 500 calls for service every day.