Surrey First wakes up to crime issues: Linda Hepner now wants facial recognition technology


Linda Hepner Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Linda Hepner
Photo by Chandra Bodalia


SURREY First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner wants to put facial recognition technology to work solving crimes, just as Calgary Police are now doing.

“I want to talk with our local RCMP and the City of Calgary to see how we can put this kind of technology to work in our city,” said Hepner. “Putting facial recognition technology to work will help police do their job even faster, and that’s an important part of proactive policing.”

The Calgary Police Service says it will use new facial recognition technology to compare photos and videos from crime scenes against their database of roughly 300,000 mug shots, in an effort to identify suspects and people of interest.

Before they had the technology, Calgary Police sometimes spent weeks or months trying to determine whether suspects seen on closed circuit television or identified by witnesses were already in the police picture database.

“When it comes to policing, timing is important,” said Surrey First council candidate Dave Woods who spent 40 years with the RCMP. “The faster you can identify suspects, or people of interest, the faster you can solve a crime.”

NEC Corporation, which produces the technology, says their new NeoFace Reveal technology can carry out identification searches in seconds with greater accuracy. American police forces have used different versions of the technology, but the Calgary Police Service is the first to use the latest version of the facial recognition software.

Trained technicians, rather than police officers, analyze the matches and pass their findings on to police for follow-up. Meanwhile, officers wearing body cameras can send images they collect at crime scenes to technicians who look for database matches.

NEC’s NeoFace Reveal facial recognition technology was selected by the City of Calgary and the Calgary Police Service following a competitive procurement process.