Chicago police opens strategic deployment center focusing on CTA

This unveiling of the center comes at the heels of the George Floyd protests, decrying police brutality and calling for the defunding of police.

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Chicago Police Supt. David Brown listens to a question about the Memorial Day weekend violence at a news conference May 26, 2020.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown

AP File

The Chicago Police Department and CTA Thursday formally announced the opening of a strategic deployment center that will focus on and monitor crime at bus and train stations.

The new Strategic Decision Support Center, located at the Central District police station, will help in identifying crime suspects — many who use mass transit as an “escape route,” officials said.

“Offenders don’t have much else to say when they have been caught on video,” Public Transportation Section Cmdr. Matthew Cline said of the center’s camera-heavy technology.

This unveiling of the 24-hour center — bankrolled by a donation from billionaire Ken Griffin — comes at the heels of the George Floyd protests, decrying police brutality and calling for the defunding of police.

The center, which has been in operation for a month, has access to the more than 32,000 CTA surveillance cameras and 30,000 cameras in the district, some of which include License Plate Readers, officials said.

The partnership between the police department and the mass transit agency will also bring CPD an additional 4,000 surveillance cameras on CTA property.

Officers will be able to monitor the security camera footage at the center and use their cellphones to receive the video moments after a crime has been committed, allowing for quicker response time.

Police Supt. David Brown Thursday described the combination of resources as a “game changer” that will lead to “more and longer convictions.”

When announcing plans for the center in February officials also said the department’s Mass Transit Unit would grow from 200 to 250 and four detectives would be assigned to exclusively solve CTA crimes.

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