Cities across the country are tapping into the power of public safety cameras. The list of municipalities adding camera systems is growing every day with more and more cities joining the ranks.
The Northern California City of Richmond recently completed the initial installation of 34 cameras in high crime areas throughout the city. You can see the original press release here.
Checking in with Richmond Deputy Police Chief Ed Medina, he said that the system is up and working well, but it is too soon to tell how it has affected the crime rate.
"We are still tweaking the system and making improvements," said Medina. "There have been some problems with fluctuation in the power supply from the utility company to the power poles."
Medina said that some down time is to be expected and that when the system is up and working it is fantastic.
He cannot discuss any on-going investigations but said that the system has been effective in catching people illegally dumping which was one of the cityís original reasons for installing cameras. He said that video from the system has also been used by a regional narcotics team in a grand jury case.
The city just completed setting up a monitoring center in police headquarters. It is also monitored at the police dispatch center in another part of town. Medina said the department has partnered with the police officer's association and will staff the monitoring center with retired officers.
"Using trained police officers to monitor these cameras is essential," he said. "They know what an active robbery looks like or what a drug deal looks like because they have that background and training that a dispatcher does not."
Check back for more on Richmond and how open architecture has helped to make the system more flexible and expandable - PSW Staff