The Calgary Police Service has added a new tool to its arsenal and will be the first police agency in Canada to use facial recognition software as a screening tool for investigations and arrestee intake procedures.

The service has spent the last year reviewing and evaluating facial recognition based criminal identification systems and processes and inked a deal with NEC Corporation of America to use its NeoFace® Reveal facial recognition solution.

Police say the new system is similar to its current fingerprint capture and search database, which has about 300,000 images that were taken under the Identification of Criminals Act.

The new technology will be used as an investigative tool to compare photos and videos, like CCTV images of persons of interest, with the current CPS mugshot database.

“Facial recognition software is yet another tool for our investigators to assist in providing leads to identify potential persons of interest in criminal investigations,” said Insp. Rosemary Hawkins. “Similar to fingerprint and DNA evidence capture at scenes, facial recognition will create efficiencies by providing more viable leads for investigators.”

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Calgary Police Service and deliver the proven performance of our NeoFace solution,” said Raffie Beroukhim, vice president, NEC Biometrics Solutions Division. “Our NeoFace Reveal system is an integral part of NEC’s Safer Cities platform. We are confident that our NeoFace solution will enable CPS to solve even more crimes in a timelier manner and better serve Calgary’s public safety and security needs.”

The software uses a complex mathematical algorithm of pattern recognition to quickly screen a database of photos for potential matches. 

Trained technicians then analyze the matches and pass that information on to investigators for further follow up. 

The system will also be used to help identify arrestees when they are being booked into the Court Services Section in an effort to reduce the time and resources needed when officers are given fraudulent self-identification.