I-Team: Cameras are valuable tool in investigations like Las Vegas shooting

CINCINNATI -- Officer Kelly Drach's attention is on the Queen City most days, but Monday her heart was with Sin City.

She knows the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday could easily happen just about anywhere. If it were to happen in Cincinnati, she would play a critical role in the investigation.

At least 58 people were killed and 515 people were injured in the shooting at an outdoor country music festival Sunday night in Las Vegas.  

"If we heard an incident like that come in, we would immediately go to work on our camera system to see if there were any cameras in the area that might have caught the incident itself," Drach said.

City cameras crisscross Cincinnati. They give police a birds-eye view of what happened before, during and after events. Drach watches captured video with an eye for things that don't look right. 

"We've been able to assist officers and investigative units that are out in the field with everything from an auto accident to murder," she said. 

There are many cameras at The Banks and Downtown, but the network only reaches so far. There are no city cameras near the former Cameo Night Club, so investigators had to rely on private security video after the mass shooting there in March. 

Private cameras also caught an attack on a police officer in Government Square last August. City cameras were just out of range. 

"They were not able to see the shooting occur, but we were able to get footage from Queen City Metro," Drach said. 

Collaboration is key for Drach and the Real-Time Crime Team. They also work with the Fusion Center next door, which sends threat-related information from the Tri-State to Homeland Security. The local team is assisting the Vegas team, though they haven't found any connections between the shooter and the Tri-State.

"When the dust settles from this, there's a lot that's going to be done to determine if this person was radicalized, what his motivation was, did someone know," Drach said. 

No city advertises where surveillance cameras are located, but they are all in plain view in public areas. In Cincinnati, police archive the video, but they wouldn't say for how long. 

Las Vegas also has a camera system like Cincinnati. Dozens of camera watch the Strip. Now, investigators are going through all of it, trying to figure out how this happened. 

Drach said investigators here will learn from it.

"I would equate their task with putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle," she said. "Massive."

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