STE Exclusive Roundtable: Keeping Cities Secure with Municipal Surveillance

Tips and insights from five experts in the field

If you could give one piece of advice to someone planning a municipal surveillance system, what would it be?

Wardell: Form a public-private planning/steering committee (partnership) from the beginning to develop a surveillance camera integrated deployment concept with program objectives. Then bring in an engineering/IT team to evaluate and develop the actual plan of action that will yield the highest return on invest sustainable through five years plus technology developments.

O'Donnell: Learn from the mistakes of other cities. When we started, Chicago had separate departments working on using surveillance independent of each other and this led to duplication of effort and limited interoperability when we decided to integrate our camera systems.

Cramer: Get "buy in" in advance from all parties involved, including the Police Department, City Council, City Manager and private sector. Stakeholders need to understand ongoing expenses to monitor and maintain the camera system. Explain in detail the cost and benefits of the camera system. Will the system reduce crime and improve Public Safety? Will the cameras be monitored or will the system be used for post-event investigation?

Murphy: Talk to communities that have done it before, because the lessons learned need to be shared. There are little things you can do that can save tens of thousands of dollars.

Morrow: I have six pieces of advice:

1. Leave your ego at the door.
2. Analyze the true needs/goals of your community.
3. Develop public and private partnerships, inlcuding local businesses, churches, and civic and service organizations.
4. Talk with key stakeholders one-on-one; and get assessments on public safety concerns.
5. Develop a work committee to help develop a public safety strategy.
6. Conduct market research to see if your strategy has been implemented elsewhere; review the plan.