ALBERTA

Calgary Police To Use Facial Recognition

11/04/2014 01:26 EST | Updated 11/04/2014 02:59 EST

Calgary police will add facial recognition software to their arsenal of crime-fighting tools.

The facial recognition program will allow police to cross-reference video footage and photos of potential suspects with the CPS mugshot database.

This is the first time the software will be used in Canada, and police say it will play a key role in both investigating crime and booking arrestees into the Court Services Section.

“Facial recognition software is yet another tool for our investigators to assist in providing leads to identify potential persons of interest in criminal investigations,” said Insp. Rosemary Hawkins in a press release.

“Similar to fingerprint and DNA evidence capture at scenes, facial recognition will create efficiencies by providing more viable leads for investigators.”

Police told Global News the software can help identify unknown suspects and victims within minutes, whereas before it could take weeks, or sometimes months, to compare images against the 300,000 mugshots in the CPS database.

The software, developed by NEC Corp. of America, is currently being used in the U.S., and recently assisted in the prosecution of a Chicago robbery suspect, reports the Calgary Herald.

It has also already proven itself in one Calgary case in which investigators used a seven-year-old database photo to come up with a match.

"This is evidence that needs to corroborated and verified and validated by investigators,” Hawkins told reporters, stressing that trained technicians analyze the matches before passing along their findings to police.

“It will offer a lead and a suspect, and then it will be up to the officers to further investigate.”

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