Modern Policing, Safer Communities

October 27, 2021 by Kate Nadolski

Modern Policing, Safer Communities

Innovative solutions can take public safety agencies to a new level of modern policing. When the Bethlehem Police Department in New York upgraded their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) solution and connected it to their regional crime analysis center, modern policing is precisely what they began to experience.

Commander Adam Hornick with Bethlehem P.D. said just a few weeks after the agency’s CAD solution was connected to their crime analysis center, they experienced an incident where having that connection to their crime analysis center made all the difference.

Hornick said their agency received several phone calls about a suspect stopped in the middle of a four-lane road, exited their vehicle, and displayed an assault rifle.

“The suspect was pointing this assault rifle at several vehicles, so we sent multiple officers to the scene,” said Hornick.

The situation escalated as Hornick described more calls coming in from residents in the area. “We started receiving even more reports of the same suspect vehicle traveling toward a more populated area of our town, and the suspect was displaying the assault rifle and pointing it at other motorists,” he said.

With the uptick of mass shootings experienced in the United States over the last several years, the possibility of this turning into a critical event was at the forefront of Hornick’s mind.

“Calls like these get everyone on high alert, especially when the suspect starts heading towards populated areas with lots of businesses,” said Hornick. “We were concerned with what was going to happen next and what the outcome of this incident was going to be.”

In response to the calls they received, Hornick’s team searched the area but could not locate the suspect or his vehicle. They also were unable to get a license plate number from any witnesses on the scene.

“That’s when I contacted our crime analysis center and made sure they were watching and alert to this call,” explained Hornick.

He explained that crime analysts were reading all of the information coming in through the call ticket in real-time and recognized that details mirrored a similar incident in a neighboring municipality. This similar incident provided a license plate number, which was the critical piece in making an arrest.

“Within an hour of finding the vehicle, we had enough information to arrest the suspect despite nobody being able to identify this person by face,” said Hornick. “The information that came from our CAD system along with being connected to our crime analysis center and having the ability to compare incidents that were happening in real time gave us enough for a search warrant for the property of the suspect, which is where we located the weapon.”

After further investigation, Hornick said the assault rifle they found ended up being an airsoft rifle, and the suspect was charged with multiple counts of illegal possession of a weapon.

“We had enough to solve this crime in the matter of an hour, and the key was having the proper access to the right information at our fingertips,” said Hornick.

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