TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Thousands of people will be in downtown Tampa on Saturday for the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion.
Law enforcement agencies are going to great lengths to protect those crowds but officers can’t be everywhere. That’s why the Tampa Police Department is using technology to help with its efforts.
“This year we have a very expansive amount of cameras,” said Capt. Rich Blasioli with the Tampa Police Department.
On Wednesday, the Tactical Intelligence Unit gave News Channel 8 a look inside the real-time crime center at the police department’s headquarters.
Cpl. Erica Collum helps lead the unit.
“We know what the officers are looking for, what’s going to be helpful to them and then we’re able to kind of help gather that information together up here, while we’re not driving cars, while we’re not dealing with trying to conduct an interview or something along those lines,” Collum said.
During Gasparilla, officers will be able to monitor cameras placed all over the parade route that will allow them to respond more quickly to any emergency.
This year, they’ve installed more cameras than ever before.
“The key function of this unit is to provide operational support to our officers in as close to real-time as possible,” Blasioli said.
Staff members from different agencies will be inside the crime center during Gasparilla working together to help coordinate law enforcement response and give officers more eyes on the ground.
“For the children’s parade, I know there were several lost children that we were able to help push out information and help them, the officers that were looking for them, locate them quickly,” Collum said.
Police also need help from the public. They are urging parents to take a photo of their child in their costume in case they get lost. Also, if you see anything suspicious, report it.