The Oak Brook Police Department plans to continue to increase its use of technology as a major tool in fighting crime and keeping the village safe.
Automatic license plate readers are being installed for use by 2022 in eight of Oak Brook’s subdivisions, with a 50/50 program sponsored by the village, which allows for a shared cost among residents of the subdivisions. . The village also installed seven additional plate readers on village-owned roads and purchased a mobile license plate reader/video surveillance trailer with hand held GPS launchers to safely track fleeing vehicles, Police said. Chief Brian Strockis said.
“My vision for the Oak Brook Police Department is simple,” he said. “We will keep our schools safe, our residential areas safe and our business community safe.”
While the use of technology is just one of the methods Oak Brook police will use, it is an important, and growing, tool.
A drone system is planned for the near future, and Strockis said the department is in the process of instituting a virtual real time crime center, called FUSUS. It is a software that has the ability to integrate different camera surveillance systems and put them on a platform that can be accessed by officers in real time.
“The Oak Brook Police Department is committed to using technology as a force multiplier to keep our community safe,” said Strockis, who takes over as chief in June 2022. “Technology in law enforcement is rapidly evolving. progress, but it is only useful if it is easily accessible to street officers.
“Officers today have many different systems to log into, and it’s difficult to navigate all of those systems effectively. FUSUS will integrate all of our current technology into one pane of glass with a log in.”
Strockis said FUSUS will cost the Village $100,000 in 2023 and $125,000 in 2024 and 2025. “I have researched and submitted possible grant funding opportunities to offset the costs,” he said. “There is a nominal cost to community partners who want to share their video streams with the system.”
Strockis said the FUSUS platform is open to all businesses and residents who want to share their camera feeds or register their cameras so that investigators can save time on canvasses when looking for surveillance video in a certain place.
“It’s important to note that this system is 100% configurable by our community partners,” he said. “Businesses and residents can choose to grant access to the Police Department to monitor camera feeds at all times, outside cameras, or only during times of emergency at that location.”
Strockis said he has already spoken about FUSUS at a Homeowners Association President’s meeting and will do so again in February.
“I also presented the platform at the last Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce meeting, and we had strong community interest,” he said, adding that FUSUS has a community outreach team that will help get information out to community
Strockis said all of the village’s cameras, including those at the golf course, library and Bath & Tennis Club will be live on FUSUS. All the cameras in the schools and the Oak Brook Park District will be on the platform by next week, he said Monday.
“We have the ability to put all of our automated license plate reader cameras in FUSUS and are working on a dual stream with the cameras so they can also be livestreaming cameras,” he said.
Strockis feels very good about the assistance FUSUS will provide the police in helping to keep Oak Brook as safe as possible.
“I’ve spent years in our Detective Division, following up on cases and trying to get video of suspects or cars,” he said. “Often, victims/businesses do not know how to access their surveillance systems or there is such a delay in obtaining the necessary video footage, which then delays the investigation.”
With the FUSUS Virtual Real Time Crime Center, officers responding to an emergency will automatically have the closest five cameras populate their computer screen, Strockis said. “It’s an officer safety benefit as well as a force multiplier to have the ability to see what kind of situation you’re responding to before you arrive,” he said. “Officers have the ability to capture an image of a suspect or vehicle in real time and disseminate that information immediately.”
Along with all that the system provides, FUSUS also has a function to connect the community where residents can opt for SMS messaging to receive alerts directly from the police department on active incidents or other information with related to the crime that the community needs to know immediately.
“The applications for the FUSUS platform are vast and will be configurable to fit the needs of the police department and the community at large for years to come,” said Strockis.
Village Manager Greg Summers was not surprised by Strockis’ leadership in bringing FUSUS to Oak Brook.
“When the Village was looking for a new Chief of Police in 2022, first and foremost on the Police Chief Selection Committee’s list of criteria was a proactive Chief who focused on implementing new policies and using technology. as a force multiplier to keep residents, businesses, and our school safe. ,” Summers said. “Chief Strockis was selected because he embodies these criteria and presents a clear path to technology and approach that aligns with the village’s core mission of public safety.”
Chuck Fieldman is a freelance reporter for the Pioneer Press.