Officers from the Gwinnett County Police Department’s North Precinct recently located a missing elderly woman in less than two hours by using technology with their Situational Awareness and Crime Response Center.

On Feb. 27, a uniform patrol officer was approached by a resident near Cumming Highway in Buford. The resident stated her 82-year-old friend was missing. In an effort to locate the missing woman, Gwinnett County police contacted the SACRC analysts to use Flock cameras to assist in finding her.

Deputy Chief Marshal Andy Smith with the Sugar Hill Marshal’s Office found the missing woman.

“I heard the call come out on the radio and knew she might be heading in the direction of Sugar Hill,” he said.

Approximately one hour later, the missing person’s vehicle was observed entering Gwinnett County.

“Once I got to the intersection of (Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Highway 20), GCPD Intel Unit advised me the vehicle might be in the southbound lane at the red light,” Smith said.

After a brief amount of time, Smith was able to locate the vehicle and followed it.

“Once I received confirmation that it was the vehicle they were looking for, I initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and she pulled into the Race Trac gas station off PIB,” he said. “Once GCPD arrived on scene, I turned things over to them.”

According to a news release issued by the department, the missing person told officers she was lost and did not know how to return home.

GCPD Corporal Juan Madiedo said the SACRC serves as a central hub for sharing information among various public safety departments, community improvement districts, metro Atlanta and state agencies.

“This enhances the information-sharing system for the police department,” Madiedo said. “Once an incident is reported, the Situational Awareness and Crime Response Center leverages data from nearby cameras to inform first responders in real-time.”

Madiedo said the center also helps first responders.

“They use this information to understand the scene of the incident and the risks involved,” he said. “This increases our ability to respond effectively and increases their safety upon arrival.”

The setup for the SACRC has been in place for several years. In 2019, Gwinnett County commissioners approved a subgrant agreement with the Atlanta Regional Commission, which allowed the county to receive $300,000 in grant funding to help establish the response center. The funds were allocated for the acquisition of technologies, software, cameras, hardware and professional services for project management, system assurance and training. The center is designed to promote cooperation between the police and community stakeholders who can provide access to tools such as Flock cameras to respond to crimes and locate missing people.

The technology used by the response center has proven to be a valuable asset for the community.

“This is just one example of how technology is being used to keep the community safe, not only is this used to fight crime and help detectives solve cases, but it also allows analysts behind the scenes to provide officers on the road with real-time information and help return a lost elderly person home safely to their family.”

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