Small Town Goes High Tech on Big City Crime

Located 50 miles south of Chicago in Kankakee County and easily accessible via Interstate 57, the village of Manteno, Illinois, is truly a middle-America small town with big city benefits. With a community of about 12,000, its proximity to Chicago and other major cities is both positive and negative. Frequently, when a crime is committed or someone is wanted by the authorities, the first thing the criminal does is hit the highway and head out of town. If they head south from Chicago, that leads them straight to Manteno.

The police in Manteno are often notified to be on the lookout for cars and suspects that may be coming through town, or they are investigating a local incident but details and descriptions can be lacking. Our police and city managers decided to install cameras along a section of the highway to see if we could capture more information and perhaps identify vehicles. – Todd Creek, owner and CEO of Dura-Tech, a network systems integrator based in Manteno

The video surveillance installation was initiated for forensic purposes as a way to monitor cars that come in and out of town. However, the small police department does not have the resources to monitor the live video streams in real time, 24/7. Instead, the police use the recorded video, which offers many advantages.

The Manteno Police Department is committed to protecting our community by using all resources available. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, like Milestone video management software, we have improved our ability to investigate criminal activity that enters our village or is on our roads. – Alan Swinford, Chief of Police, Manteno Police Department

The department has a dedicated video room with servers and a monitoring station. Officers can monitor the video feeds in real time, if needed, or review recorded video. They can also watch and review video from their smartphones, laptops or tablets with the Milestone Mobile application.

Often when officers are in the station doing paperwork, they also monitor the cameras to track what’s happening on the highway. After the initial system was in place, officers realized they could see license plates clearly, which prompted moving forward with adding a license plate recognition (LPR) video analytic module.

With the Milestone XProtect LPR solution, we have a searchable database of video. If an incident occurs, we can catch enough data to help police locate or narrow down suspects. Even partial plate information greatly improves accuracy and speeds up the process when every minute is critical. – Todd Creek

With the added video capabilities, Manteno authorities can alert agencies north or south of town to be on the lookout for specific vehicles with good description details. Not only is the system used as an investigative tool, but it also has become a proactive means to monitor activity and identify with certainty which direction a vehicle takes when leaving town.