Breaking News
More () »

Cobb Police offer rare, public view of high-tech, crime-fighting tools helping officers reduce crime

Cobb County’s Police Chief said Tuesday the state-of-the-art technology is helping detectives and officers solve 100 percent of homicides this year.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County Police offered the public a rare chance to see some of the high-tech tools that they and police across the country are rushing to use more in their fight against crime.

The police crime-fighting technology is advancing and improving so fast that one, veteran cop, in particular, has to work hard to keep up with it.

"I can tell you that it’s overwhelming," Cobb County Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer said.

Chief VanHoozer entered law enforcement as a patrol officer in 1990, when none of the high-tech tools in use now existed– tools the chief called indispensable to the department’s officers and detectives.

“They are using technology incredibly,” VanHoozer said. “We will have 100 percent clearance rate on our homicides this year.”

The department has, for example, Real Time Crime Center data on every single police call as each unfolds, and the information displays on a live map accessible to all officers in the field, on their patrol car laptops.

The department continues to install and activate more publicly-owned surveillance cameras and connect them with a network of private cameras that businesses and homeowners offer voluntarily.

Cobb Police have 15 camera drones, now, helping scan crowds at big events, for suspicious activity, and searching for missing people even in the dark using thermal imaging.

The department has a portable camera that crime scene technicians set up at crime scenes which records the entire crime scene in 3D, taking measurements, helping find trace evidence, leading to arrests and convictions.

"And for jury purposes," Senior Crime Scene Tecnician Malaika Moore said. "You can actually feel like you’re actually in the scene because it shows you everything that we saw when we arrived on scene."

The tried-and-true SWAT robot continues to save lives, going into dangerous crime scenes and sending back live video and sound, so the SWAT team can then know how best to go in and capture the offenders with no harm to them or anyone else.

SWAT Team Sergeant Robert Latham said in one recent case, for example, the team sent in the remote-controlled robot.

"We actually saw a suspect laying in ambush at the top of a stairwell, waiting with a weapon to ambush someone coming into the residence. And we were able to safely remedy the problem," he said.

Monroe Billington, 10, looking at the high-tech gear with his dad as officers explained to them how the equipment can be used, said he is glad he was able to see it all for himself.

“I never really felt threatened or unsafe in Cobb County,” Monroe said. “But this just takes it to a whole level, I feel secure, almost.”

The advances in technology, Chief VanHoozer said, are helping police not only solve crimes but prevent them– he mentioned license plate reader cameras, specifically.

“Having one of those at the entrance to your neighborhood is amazing,” VanHoozer said. “Our offenders recognize those cameras and it does prevent crime. It can prevent it from happening in your neighborhood or in your home.”

VanHoozer said Cobb Police, and police everywhere else, are trying not only to put more officers on the streets but also to arm them with the latest “robocop” tools, to help them get ahead of the criminals.

“We look at what cutting edge departments are doing elsewhere and we see if it works,” VanHoozer said. “We do like to test our technology with the consent of our community. Let them know what we're looking at doing next, getting their feedback on it and defining exactly how we would use it. But we like to see what's next on the horizon and we have some internal ideas on things that we think we could actually put together. Technology-wise, it would help us.”

Before You Leave, Check This Out