Facial recognition software to aid Calgary police in future investigations

Calgary police will start using facial recognition software this month to compare mugshots with crime scene photos and video.

1st police agency in Canada to use the software, say Calgary officials

Officers previously manually searched database of 300,000 mug shots, process now takes just a few minutes or seconds 1:52

Calgary police will start using facial recognition software this month to compare mugshots with crime scene photos and video.

Officials say Calgary is the first police force in Canada to use the program. 

Insp. Rosemary Hawkins says officers previously had to manually search their database of 300,000 mug shots — whereas this process takes just a few minutes or seconds.

"This technology will not be used to identify people walking down the street as a member of the general public," she said. "It will be used to identify subjects involved in criminal activity under police investigation and the image searched against our mugshot database, which holds photos of people that have been processed on charges."

Hawkins says it can also be used to speed up the booking process if officers are given fake identification.

The Calgary Police Service entered into a contract with NEC Corporation of America for their NeoFace® Reveal facial recognition solution after a year of research.

"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,” said NEC Biometrics Solutions Division vice president Raffie Beroukhim.

Officials say the software uses a "complex mathematical algorithm of pattern recognition to quickly screen a database of photos for potential matches."

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