New technology lets Renton police track suspects in real time

Renton police say Gladiator Forensics Services allows multiple divisions to more effectively do their jobs.

Whether a suspect is moving from location to location or hiding out, Renton Police Department officers can track where they’re going in real time.

At the June 17 Public Safety Committee meeting, Renton police representatives spoke about a new partnership with the City of Kent to utilize its Gladiator Forensics Services technology.

Gladiator Forensics Services is a tool for analyzing cellphone data. Charles Karlewicz, the Renton Police Department’s commander of special operations, said the new service is provided by Kent for free. Karlewicz said Kent approached them and asked if they would like to use this software. Karlewicz said they just have to pay a fee to utilize the service, and Kent already pays for the server.

Karlewicz said in any investigation where they get a warrant for cellphone data, once they receive the data from the suspect’s phone, they put it into the software to analyze it.

Karlewicz said the main advantage of this new software compared to their old cellphone tracking data software is that if they get a trap and trace warrant, they can pursue suspects in real time and know where a suspect is precisely. Previously, Karlewicz said, they would only get historical data from where a cellphone was and who it had called.

“So, in other words, if we get permission from the court, we can monitor a cellphone in real time, and if that phone calls another phone, we get that information, or if it receives a call from another phone, we get that information,” Karlewicz said. “But only if we’ve gotten a warrant for it.”

Karlewicz oversees the directed enforcement team, the special enforcement team, and the SWAT team. He said the new software will be utilized in all three divisions and will be a tremendous help. The old software only told officers where the suspect had made calls, so now they can catch a suspect from wherever they are, he said.

He offered a hypothetical scenario.

“If we’re doing a drug investigation and we get a warrant on a suspect’s phone, and our informant calls and orders up some drugs, and then we can see that the next phone call that the suspect makes is to a particular number,” Karlewicz said. “Then there’s a good chance that the drugs we just ordered, the phone call that the suspect made, was to his source to get the drug. So it kind of helps link things together that way.”

Karlewicz said he estimates this software will be in use at the RPD in the next 30 to 60 days.