To bring the Broward Sheriff’s Office the ability to identify and neutralize any threat during a critical incident or other public emergency in line with other jurisdictions in the United States and abroad, Sheriff Gregory Tony expanded the Threat Management Division to include the Threat Management Unit (TMU) and Real Time Crime Center (RTCC).
“By strengthening the Threat Management Division, we have improved the way we gather intelligence and respond to potential threats. We now have cutting-edge technology to identify and investigate potentially dangerous threats to our community,” Sheriff Tony said.
The mission of the TMU is to deter, detect, and relentlessly investigate persons, and or groups, who desire to cause death to masses of individuals at schools, places of worship, places of business and large scale events.
Since its inception in January, the TMU has investigated 175 cases, resulting in 41 arrests. Of the total arrested, 29 are adults, and 12 are juveniles.
The TMU has successfully investigated cases that have led to multiple arrest warrants, including five out-of-state cases from California, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia, where the suspects have been or are awaiting extradition to Broward County to face charges. These have included suspects charged with serious felonies ranging from attempted murder, aggravated stalking and written threats to kill.
In addition to TMU’s efforts to identify high-risk individuals who may desire to commit acts of mass violence, when Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) students, teachers and staff start the 2019 school year, they will have the added security of BSO’s RTCC. The RTCC allows for real-time monitoring and analysis of important investigative information during a critical incident. This collaboration with BCPS gives BSO direct access to live video feeds, monitoring nearly 10,000 cameras in more than 260 public school and administrative buildings.
The RTCC has two major functions: 1) to provide a “strategic command and control capability” to assist all Broward County law enforcement officers with active crimes and cases in progress and 2) to provide an “intelligence capability” that is constantly identifying persons of interest who may commit, or have committed, crimes against Broward County residents.
The RTCC was originally housed in a 350 square foot office space near the Sheriff’s Emergency Operation Center at the Public Safety Building. The new RTCC will operate in a 2,600 square foot area at BSO’s headquarters and have a 40-foot front-video wall, a 16-foot side-video wall, 20 workstations for RTCC personnel, cubicles for TMU personnel and a conference room. The estimated total cost for the facility plus software is $2 million, which is being paid for by re-appropriated funds and through acquiring grants. Since January, the RTCC has conducted 140 drills within Broward’s schools to test the camera system. The RTCC personnel have also monitored and given tactical guidance to officers at the scene of 142 real-life incidents within the schools, including lockdowns for crimes happening on and off school property.
In addition to the cameras at BCPS, the RTCC currently has access to video cameras at the Public Safety Building, several BSO district offices (Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, Pompano Beach and unincorporated Central Broward), BSO’s detention facilities and helicopters, license plate readers, pretrial electronic monitoring and SaferWatch. In the future, the RTCC will encompass religious institutions and businesses.
“With our brand new, state-of-the-art center, our threat management team will have the capability to monitor any in-progress critical incident occurring inside our schools, participating houses of worship and private businesses,” Sheriff Tony said. “I will never lose sight of our mission: to keep our community – especially our schools – safe.”