Grand Prairie, Texas is a growing city. Over 200,000 people call it home, and the number of buildings has increased with the population. As the city has changed, so too has the law enforcement agency that watches over it. With more area to cover, Grand Prairie Police Department set out to find technology that could fit its changing needs.
Situated between four different counties, Grand Prairie faces geographic challenges that the agency has had to overcome. While the city is home to just over 200,000 people, close to 1,000,000 pass through it daily. Grand Prairie is surrounded by major highways that carry travelers into the larger metropolitan areas nearby. According to Grand Prairie Police Department’s Sergeant Marcos Ferreira, there’s “a small section where all the problems seem to happen… Depending on which side of the street crime is committed, it will be a different county in parts of the city.”
The problematic stretch of city is thin and long, often so bogged down by traffic that it takes 30 minutes to cross the city. Because of the high traffic and difficulty mobilizing, Grand Prairie PD has put a lot of effort into keeping law enforcement officers out in the field. “Our officers rarely come back to the station,” Sgt. Ferreira says. “They only come back to the station when they bring a prisoner. They write their reports from their car. We ask them to stay in their car for their entire shift. They're constantly driving around the city.”
Even with officers spending all day in their vehicles, the high traffic in Grand Prairie left law enforcement officers needing more eyes to help monitor crime. It was paramount that the agency find a cost-effective way to protect citizens and travelers — one that could meet the unique evidence-sharing needs of a department on the border of four counties. To solve a modern problem, Grand Prairie turned to a modern solution.
Cameras were an obvious choice for giving Grand Prairie PD more eyes on the road, but the ideal system would need to feature both stationary and mobile cameras. With 300 officers, Grand Prairie’s police force is considered the minimum size to serve its jurisdiction, based on population, though it gets the tools it needs to be effective. With the support of City Council and the city management team, Grand Prairie PD partnered with Axon and Flock Safety.
The agency purchased Axon’s Fleet 3 in-car cameras and Flock Safety’s automated license plate reader (ALPR) system, which together made a cohesive network of cameras to monitor the city’s traffic. Fleet 3 enabled Grand Prairie PD to equip more vehicles with ALPR at a lower cost than traditional ALPR systems, while also providing the staple features of a dash cam. Meanwhile, Flock Safety’s stationary ALPR cameras have helped monitor the troublesome stretches around Grand Prairie. Together, the two solutions provide an efficient way to locate and identify suspect vehicles around the city. When either ALPR system scans a license plate, it compares the plate to a hot list, alerting an officer if a match is detected.
The system is compatible with Axon Evidence, which has equipped Grand Prairie PD with an easy way to share captured video evidence with officials in the relevant county. Where Grand Prairie once “had an officer with CDs and DVDs” who would have to drop off evidence a few times a week, they can now conveniently and securely share evidence via the cloud. It’s a faster approach that also eliminates the risk of losing evidence.
Axon Fleet 3, Flock Safety, and Axon Evidence have helped Grand Prairie become a safer community with a more efficient police force. There are “thousands of stories of smaller crime” Sgt. Ferreira says he could point to as examples, but one stands out in particular. There was a shooting incident at one of the schools in the area, during which no one was injured. ALPR proved invaluable in identifying the vehicle and apprehending the suspect. “We had a description on the vehicle in a matter of minutes,” Sgt. Ferreira recounts. “And very quickly we're able to identify that person. In a couple of hours, that person was in custody… If it weren't for ALPR, we'd probably still be looking for that person.”
According to Sgt. Ferreira, the growing pains of adopting and implementing Axon were minor compared to the result. “It works really well. The entire Axon ecosystem we're using here right now is very well integrated. I don't have anything negative to say about the product. Honestly. I only have good things to say.”
Axon and our partner, Flock Safety, work together to create a cohesive layer of security for your jurisdiction. Contact us today for a demo to see how it works.