A look inside Farmington’s Real Time Crime Center

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FARMINGTON N.M. – Within the Farmington Police Department, a Real Time Crime Center is working to monitor public safety.

If a call comes out in any area where we have cameras, officers are getting dispatched so the Real Time Crime Center staff will go live in that area and just update officers with anything that they observe,” said Farmington Police Department Lt. Casey Malone.

The crime center has already proven to be effective, including in a recent shoplifting case.

“The subject actually ran from the business. I was able to get the camera on him, and I was able to track his location," said a crime center operator. "He was hiding behind some cars up the street, and I was able to talk to officers at his location.”

Compared to a dispatcher, the crime center can scan a suspect’s social media in real time.

Schools are also covered.

“Almost 500 cameras accessible to us through the Farmington Municipal Schools," said Farmington Police Department Captain Baric Crum. "If something happens, we bring them up. If nothing happens, we’re not sitting there watching for something to happen. But they’re accessible to us so that again we could provide the best information possible to an officer."

Police understand the cameras come with privacy concerns.

"The whole thing is a balancing act between the police and how much are we doing to stay safe versus an individuals rights and in this case these are all public areas that were watching," said Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe.

Cameras will record continuously, but recordings are only available for seven days. Businesses and residents can also allow for their cameras to be part of the database.