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News

Wireless surveillance network for high crime county

Firetide : 06 June, 2008  (Application Story)
Los Angeles district installs Firetide wireless network for delivering evidence quality surveillance transmissions in the fight against the high incidence of violent crime in the area
Wireless surveillance network for high crime county
Sheriff's deputies at Century Station, part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, are now using "digital eyes" to protect citizens on the streets of Lynwood and the surrounding unincorporated areas. As part of its Advanced Surveillance and Protection Plan (ASAP), the department has deployed a wireless video surveillance network enabled by Firetide. The deputies have already made several arrests as a direct result of this surveillance, including one when deputies spotted a drug deal in progress in the park next to a neighbourhood school.

"Wireless video surveillance is changing the way we serve and protect the community," said Captain James Hellmold of Los Angeles County Century Sheriff's Station. "It is a very effective force multiplier and officer safety tool. The quality of video is truly evidence-grade, which will serve us well not only to deter crime, but to help our district attorneys prosecute crime."

The 13-square-mile area served by Century Station - which is home to over 300,000 residents - has twice the national average of violent crime. Gang violence, prostitution and drug dealing are frequently discussed at the community's town hall meetings, and the people are vocal in their support of the department's taking whatever actions are necessary to make the streets safer.

Sheriff Leroy Baca: Advanced tools augment hard work of sheriff's deputies
"Our residents deserve the best law enforcement officers and the most advanced tools to fight crime and strengthen public safety," said Sheriff Leroy Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "The Century ASAP program seeks to augment the dramatic crime reduction already made possible through the dedication and hard work of the men and women of Century Sheriff's Station and the Gang Violence Task Force."

Video cameras have been deployed at key intersections, near schools, and near two hospitals. The broadcast-quality (30 frames per second) video is transported in real-time over the Firetide wireless mesh network directly to the integrated video and 9-1-1 dispatch command centre, where watch deputies guide teams on the ground as they respond to calls for service. Fifteen deputies have already been trained in the use of the new video surveillance system, which allows them to control the cameras and pan, tilt and zoom into images, track suspects, and assess situations as reports of crimes in progress come in.

Watch deputies can read license plates from 200 yards away even in low light conditions. The video feeds are also recorded for investigative and evidentiary purposes. Designed and installed by a local systems integrator, the video surveillance system not only met all of the expectations of Century Station, but surprised the ASAP team with how quickly everything came together - just three weeks from requirements to a fully operational system.

The deployment of Firetide wireless video surveillance at Century Station was made possible through the generosity of the Safe Cities Foundation, a non-profit organisation established to create safer communities in Los Angeles County. The Safe Cities Foundation provided state-of-the-art wireless surveillance equipment to the Sheriff's Department, while determining the viability and effectiveness of advanced surveillance technologies for public safety use. Many of the department's 40 contract cities and unincorporated districts are already working to develop strategies to deploy ASAP or some of its components within their communities.

The surveillance system delivers evidence-grade video feeds into the station's new command centre, allowing watch deputies to coordinate in real time with officers in the field. ASAP technologies also include acoustic gunshot detection and automatic license plate recognition. ASAP serves to expand the use of advanced technologies in the field, strengthen criminal prosecution with video evidence, and provide real-time intelligence to improve officer safety.

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is a forward-thinking public safety agency focused on using the best technology to support first responders and protect the public," said Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide. "We are pleased to partner with the Safe Cities Foundation to deliver the most advanced technology to Century Station, as the department evaluates tools and capabilities to better serve its communities. This deployment serves as an example to other agencies that may be sceptical about the capabilities of wireless networks to support critical applications, such as video surveillance. Century Sheriff's Station joins law enforcement agencies in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, West Palm Beach and many other cities that are already using Firetide technology to make the streets safer."
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