The Intimidation Factor: Starting a Police Command or Intel Room

Baton Rouge RTCC

Do not be intimidated by huge, dimly-lit, video-walled police command & intelligence centers.

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I first visited the Chicago Police Dept’s CPIC fusion center. Live-video from prominent tourist attractions across the city. A digital job board — displaying high priority shootings, robberies, & carjackings. More workstations than my unit had people!

But then, I learned the same exact work can be run on a laptop, from the back of a minivan, at 80mph! (Not kidding!)

At its core, running a command room or a real-time crime center is about timely access to information. And timely dissemination of the same. It doesn’t have to be all fancy.

Sure, you can get expensive RTCC integration software. And a video wall. And TVs mounted all over. And elevated stadium seating. (Don’t forget the sexy accent lighting!)


If you’re looking to start out, cram a computer & a couple monitors into an extra cubicle. Get your people some basic access: CAD, RMS, LE databases, city cameras, ALPRs. Get them a radio.

Voila! You’ve got an RTCC!

Do not get fooled into starting big & expensive.

Start small & let it grow naturally. See what YOUR department or county or region needs — through trial & error.

But start. Now is a good time.

PS: These rooms & screens are often staged for photos & for dignitary tours. (You all know it’s true. We all do it.)


Check out the RTCC tag for more posts by Lou on this emerging technology & rapidly growing concept!


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a detective supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. He's focused on multi-jurisdictional crime patterns & intelligence, through organic working groups compromised of investigators & analysts from a variety of agencies. With a passion for training, he studies human performance, decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, & adaptability. In 2021, he went back to college (remotely!), in hopes to finally finish his undergrad degree from the University of Illinois - Gies College of Business. Follow Lou on LinkedIn, & also the LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model***


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