TORONTO -City Police have several new tools in their crime-fighting arsenal, including a new surveillance and emergency 911 telephone systems.
The surveillance system includes a monitor installed in the police dispatcher's office capable of up to 16 views of city sites through surveillance cameras at public areas, according to Randy Henry, City Police chief.
"This has been in the plans for months," said Henry, adding the new system includes three cameras around the city building hallways and outside entrance. "The cameras are there to protect the (wall-mounted) photographs and other materials inside the city building from being vandalized. The screen is new. We also now have a talkbox mounted outside the front door (of the City Police station). It automatically dials Jefferson County 911."
Mark J. Miller
UP AND RUNNING — City Police Chief Randy Henry watches the new camera display at the City Police department’s dispatch room. The new system integrates the city’s current camera surveillance system along with new cameras in the Municipal Building.
Henry said the city already has several cameras mounted at various public places. Those camera views eventually will be integrated into the new system, added Henry.
"We already have cameras at Newburg Landing Park, the shelterhouse at the city pool, the Roosevelt Recreation Center and the playgrounds," Henry said, adding plans are under way for new surveillance cameras to be placed at other public places.
The idea is to free up dispatcher duties by an officer in the evening, and calls placed to the police station will be routed to 911 and then to cruisers on the street, Henry said.
"It was nice having someone here (in the dispatcher's office) at night, but the action is out there on the street," Henry said. "It will take a few weeks to get (all the systems integrated)."
To currently view the camera views in the city an officer needs to log online. The new system will be faster and immediate, with up to 16, real-time camera views in the dispatcher's office. The views also will be recorded and available for playback if need be, Henry said. The surveillance is only at public places - no private property, the chief added.
"If we see someone doing something illegal on the cameras, we're going to investigate," said Henry. "It gives us more tools to investigate. There's no right to privacy in public. We're protecting the taxpayers' investments."
The idea is to cut down on vandalism at public property or any other potential crimes, Henry said.
"Officers are in and out of here during the evening, and they can view the screen as they are here," said the chief, adding the dispatcher can monitor the views during the daylight. "They also can be accessed remotely on the Internet."