Calgary police first in Canada to use face recognition software

Calgary police have a new tool to help solve crimes.

Special ‘face recognition’ software can identify unknown suspects and victims within minutes.

It will save investigation time, result in faster arrests and bring quick closure for victims.

Every day Calgary police have to identify suspects or victims of crimes.

It could be a grainy image on security video, a body recovered in the river or a thief in a break-and-enter.

Normally it takes weeks or months to find a match, but not anymore.

“With this technology as we’ve done searches, it’s coming up in seconds and minutes,” said CPS Insp. Rosemary Hawkins.

Calgary police are the first in Canada to use new facial recognition software to investigate unsolved crimes.

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The computer program compares photos, video images, even artist sketches with 300,000 mug shots in the CPS database.

Calgary police have a long list of active investigations waiting for identification, and just testing this software has had results.

The technology developed by the NEC Corporation has proven to be very successful in the U.S.

“We have a lot of agencies that use NeoFace in the U.S. against very large databases,” said Keith Raderschadt with NEC Corporation.

“Some departments have over 1,000 confirmed hits using NeoFace, those are confirmed cold case hits.”

Right now the facial recognition software can only search Calgary arrest records, but eventually it can be adapted to other police databases.

The cost to develop the software program and a five-year contract with the company was under $500,000.


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