In South Philadelphia today Mayor Michael Nutter joined state, national, and regional partners for the formal grand opening of the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC).
The DVIC, also known as a “fusion center,” is a collaborative intelligence hub supported by public health organizations, colleges and universities, private businesses and law enforcement designed to improve public safety in the Philadelphia region.
“The DVIC is a one-stop shop for regional informational exchange. I’m confident that this fusion center will be the best fusion center there is and I’m very proud of this opening,” Nutter said.
The DVIC features cutting edge technology that allows law enforcement to pool and share information with the Department of Homeland Security, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Watch Center, SEPTA and Amtrak police and several other partner agencies to better identify criminal and terroristic threats, as well as weather and general public safety hazards.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the new center will help officers gather more information in advance so that they can do more once they actually arrive at a crime scene.
“Our Real Time Crime Center, which had been at the Round House, is now here. So we have more and more cameras coming on board. They also monitor all of the calls as they come out as they provide a lot of information to the officers in the field. Our mobile investigative response vehicles or MIRVs, we’ve got two of them, they go out there directly connected to the center; so we can fax stuff, we can do whatever we need to do,” he said. “All of this gives us the ability to be able to do more when we’re there. And the more cameras the more likely that something may be picked up on camera, the greater the likelihood that we can use that to solve a crime. So it’s a solid step forward and having all of these agencies working together I think is a win.”
The DVIC’s Real Time Crime Center now allows police to view feeds from nearly 2,000 cameras located in neighborhoods throughout the city and new technology allows them to share that information with partner agencies that monitor crime activity.
District Attorney for Delaware County Jack Whelan explained some of the ways the DVIC center will help keep the Delaware River safe.
“We use the DVIC center on a regular basis. Four years ago we started a project called Operation Watch Standard and that was to make the Delaware River safer. Through our contract with Boeing, through Homeland Security and federal funds, right now you would not know it but there are radar and cameras in Delaware County, along the Delaware river, safeguarding the people in Delaware county, as well as the entire region because we can identify a vessel coming up the river and whether that vessel poses a threat,” he said. “The DVIC provides the monitoring of the cameras and the radar and the DVIC will provide additional monitoring as that project expands.”
City Council chair of public safety Curtis Jones said that as a Philadelphia resident, knowing the work that is being done in the DVIC makes him feel safer.
“I appreciate the notion that it’s important to be safe on independence mall but it’s also important to be safe on Indiana Avenue and that neighborhoods will be made safer by this center,” Jones said. “I feel safer than I did yesterday.”
The center will be maintained by a staff of 125 members of law enforcement and operates 24-hours per day and seven days per week.