Miami-Dade County is working on becoming a smarter city, partnering with technology companies for better water management, intelligent law enforcement and using analytics for video analysis, says Angel Petisco, CIO with the county.
The last two items are leading county officials to look at better ways to create safer schools and parks, Petisco says. Video analytics can be used to tell if someone had left a package that could be considered suspicious, which is becoming increasingly common, but the use of facial recognition technology to spot sex offenders would be new.
The pilot program hasn’t started yet but will place camera in parks near areas where children congregate, Petisco explains. The video feed will match against a database of known sex offenders. If one is spotted a message will be sent to law enforcement and an officer will investigate.
The program will be tested in one park to see how it works, Petisco says. “We want to make sure it will work before rolling it out elsewhere,” he adds.
Officials have to figure out the best are to place camera so they can receive quality images for accurate matches. Discussion is also underway with law enforcement on how the system will be monitored and responders handled.
The county also wants to make sure that the proper social reviews are taken. “Should we place signage so people know there are cameras?” Petisco asks.
The system should be operational some time in September. Petisco admits that the technology might now work in this setting. “It’s positive the false positives will be too high but that’s part of the evaluation,” he says.
Facial recognition from a distance hasn’t been the most accurate technology in the past. The technology was deployed at airports, sporting events and other areas after Sept. 11 and didn’t perform well. The technology has improved since then but its use as a surveillance technology is still largely untested.