Mayor: New CPD center uses tech only thought possible in 'television or movies'

A new high-tech crime fighting system that debuted on the South Side last April has now spread to the rest of the city.

The goal is to use new technology to give Chicago police a faster start on catching the bad guys.

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot got a tour of the latest Area Technology Center -- or ATC -- just installed at Area Central's Detective Division at 51st and Wentworth.

"The kind of things they are now able to do with technology we only thought was possible by watching television or watching movies. We now have those capabilities at our fingertips,” Lightfoot said.

Among the new tools is a software program that allows police to scrub people or vehicles from surveillance video to pinpoint a suspect.

"If we want to filter it down to just bicycles, click just bicycles and apply it, it'll show us bikes within that hour,” an official said.

Police say it improves their ability to quickly retrieve and process digital evidence from city cameras, private surveillance cameras and cellphones.

In one case, shot spotter caught the sound of gunshots. A building security camera then caught the suspect running down an alley and another camera picked him up throwing the gun in a dumpster.

Because ATC analysts were able to process the video quickly, the suspect's description was relayed to police who made the arrest and recovered the gun.

"It gives us the ability to see in real time, that day of the event, so now what we see on that video allows the detectives to be able to tell patrol what they're looking for,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

Police say they have used the new technology at Area South about 700 times to enhance digital video and it has resulted in additional arrests.