Tulsa's futuristic Real Time Information Center opens
Tulsa’s Real Time Information Center is officially open and operating.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor G.T. Bynum, Police Chief Wendell Franklin and other city and state officials hosted a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony inside the new RTIC at city hall.
The center uses a slew of information-gathering methods, including live feeds of traffic and other security cameras throughout Tulsa.
“We’re able to focus on in-progress or crimes that have just occurred or events that are happening kind of in real-time,” said Captain Jacob Johnston, RTIC’s commanding officer.
Johnston, Franklin and others said the features of RTIC were inspired by a trip to the Las Vegas Real Time Crime Center. That trip and support for the new RTIC was thanks to a country-wide initiative from the Department of Justice called the National Public Safety Partnership.
“The National Public Safety Partnership funds those trips for us, and when we convened at their national symposium, that’s where we saw all of this technology and that’s when we said ‘This is what we want to be,’” said Franklin.
Mayor Bynum and other officials shared anecdotes lauding the RTIC for having already helped to catch criminals, including those looking to commit homicide.
When asked about privacy concerns regarding the network of cameras, Johnston said he “understands” those concerns, but said he hopes the police department’s transparency policy quells those fears, adding that all cameras are only in public spaces. With regard to retention of images: “We’re keeping it for much shorter [amounts of time] than some of your private corporations,” he said.
Franklin, though, said that information TPD is looking to work with other city agencies like the fire department and sheriff’s office in sharing the real-time information, possibly being used for other emergencies.