KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department is one step closer to placing cameras around Knoxville in an effort city officials say will help fight crime.

On March 21, the Knoxville City Council approved the construction contract for KPD’s Real Time Information Center, which will be housed at the new Public Safety Complex.

KPD shared that they plan to have 15 cameras up and running at the initial startup of the RTIC. Over time, they expect the number of cameras to increase based on the availability of funds and grant opportunities. The camera’s placement will be based on several factors including “an analysis of historical and contemporary crime data, community input, insight from officers based on their experiences and observations within their beats, and vendor consultation regarding the best practices.”

The center will be integrated with 9-1-1 dispatch. KPD said this will allow RTIC staff to give critical information to officers responding to a scene. In addition, the video gathered will “help investigators generate leads and close cases after crimes occur.”

According to KPD, the center will offer “immediate, time-sensitive information to officers responding to the scene of a crime”, strengthen investigative capabilities, and add infrastructure in “the event of a natural disaster or major critical emergency.”

KPD said that the center will only have access to cameras purchased for RTIC purposes. Business owners and individuals can grant access to their cameras, however, KPD “would have to enter a signed contractual agreement before acquiring access” according to the RTIC website. In addition, body-worn cameras or in-car cameras will not be linked to the center as the department does not have the ability to tap into the cameras in real-time.

The construction phase of the RTIC is expected to be finished by fall 2023. The center is expected to be fully functional by the summer of 2024. Once the center is finished and operational, KPD shared that they will provide tours and informational presentations to community groups about the center.

In July 2021, a resolution to allow the mayor to enter a contract to create the design for the center was passed. The new resolution allows the city adds construction of the center to the contract with Messer Construction Company, who are working to build the Public Safety Complex.

To learn more about the center, visit KPD shared that this page will be updated as this project continues.

The RTIC is one of many things planned for the new Public Safety Complex. It will serve as the headquarters for the police department, fire administrators and emergency personnel. The facility will also house a new 911 backup center and a courtroom.