Elkhart police using new surveillance editing program to identify suspects

ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) --- A new crime fighting technique gaining popularity from police departments across the country is now being used right here in Michiana.

“We often get asked, ‘Well, isn’t that your job to find these suspects.’ But I don’t think people understand that almost every crime is committed by a person, and it takes people to solve those,” Elkhart Police Department Lt. Travis Snider said.

In order to help solve those crimes, the Elkhart Police Department is moving away from paper press releases and grainy photos to adopting a new surveillance editing program that will help people at home get a clearer picture of what or who police are looking for.

“Our goal with the video system is to give it a little more in depth and have it ready for the average person to watch from the get-go,” Snider says.

Snider tested the new crime-fighting program for the very first time Wednesday by putting together a video of a burglary that happened at a local cellphone store last month.

The video begins with a brief synopsis of the crime committed. Then, it transitions to surveillance video with zoom-in and zoom-out points, captions highlighting key elements of the suspect, and information on who to contact if you have any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect.

“Anytime the camera is moving, you can kind of see a little bit how it’s grainy in the back. If we stop that and try to take a still photo, it will be a very grainy photo. Where if we keep it flowing, it tends to be clearer,” Snider said.

Snyder says he came up with the idea of adding the new surveillance video techniques when he attended a four-day media school last year.

“It was a multiple-day school, but they spent a couple hours factoring on this because it is important in the future of how a lot of stuff will be released from police departments,” Snider said.

Speaking of the future, Snider says his long-term plan is that all releases be sent out via video clip.

“I can’t emphasize enough, we cannot do our job without the public’s assistance. We rely solely on them. The more we can get the public to help us out, the better it is for everybody,” Snider said.

Snider says people can access any new videos put out by police by going to the Elkhart Police Department Facebook page or by visiting their YouTube channel.