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Ocala
Friday, June 18, 2021

OPD chief celebrates ‘intelligence-driven’ approach through use of 250 cameras across city

Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken
Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken

The Ocala Police Department chief celebrated the department’s intelligence-driven approach to crime prevention during remarks made Wednesday morning, touting the use of 250 cameras that are spread across the city.

Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken praised the Ocala Police Department’s Intelligence Unit during the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership’s monthly exCEPtional morning breakfast meeting. Balken indicated that the unit was operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and helped support the department’s initiative of removing known offenders.

“We want to surgically remove those known violent offenders from our community,” said Balken. He went on to explain that by removing those offenders “with surgical, scalpel-like precision,” the department could save some of the time it spends on interrogating members of the community.

“The reason you want to do that is because if I know that’s a bad guy, I can just remove him and I don’t have to stop 15 other people that might perceive me as harassing them,” explained Balken.

“Our intelligence unit is what helps us get the job done [in an efficient and effective manner]. They monitor probably about 250 cameras that are live around the city,” said Balken. He suggested the intelligence unit was the “eyes and ears of the agency.”

In addition to monitoring cameras, the unit is charged with scrubbing social media profiles across the city in an effort to track or prevent crimes.

“We really try to run the agency smarter. In other words, the driving force, we think, certainly I think, should be an intelligence-driven police department,” said Balken.