The number of cities using public security cameras grows almost daily. Cities are finding cameras invaluable resources for police departments, public safety officers and city officials.
The news this week is that Bryan, Texas a small city in eastern Texas has completed the first phase of a security system that will eventually cover the downtown area. For more information click here. Bryan is located next to College Station, Texas, the home of Texas A&M University. The city worked hard to revitalize its historic downtown and public security cameras are one of the elements they are using.
This first phase includes six cameras – four fixed and two with the ability to pan and zoom in on objects such as license plates. The cameras will operate 24/7 and be monitored by the Bryan Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. For the most part, the video will not be monitored live, but will be used to review events after they occur to collect evidence.
The city will use real time monitoring for special events such as their famous Texas Reds Festival – a two-day wine and steak event held throughout the city’s historic downtown. The festival draws thousands of people to Bryan and the cameras make it easier for law enforcement to make sure events go smoothly and help ensure public safety.
Sam Sutherland, national accounts manager for ADT, worked with Bryan to put together the system. The camera system uses a wireless mesh technology that is secure, durable and allows the city to add additional cameras relatively inexpensively compared to a wired camera system.
Before putting in cameras, officials in the Bryan Police Department took the critically important step of talking to people in the town about what they wanted to do with the cameras. The public was very receptive.
The merchants and shop owners in downtown Bryan supported the idea of a camera system, according to Peter Scheets, Bryan deputy police chief.
Getting community input prior to the installation of a system seems to be a crucial element in implementing a successful public security system with cameras. Funding for the Bryan system came from U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants and money collected from property seizures.
Click the above image to see a television news report on the Bryan camera system.
-- PSW Staff