Newark police partner with company that allows them to access customers’ security cameras with permission
March 21, 2012 by admin
NEWARK — Mayor Cory Booker launched his police department into the information age today, announcing a series of technology upgrades for New Jersey’s largest police agency.
The Newark police department has installed dashboard cameras in 52 of its 400 cruisers.
The department has installed dashboard cameras in 52 city cruisers, and formed a partnership with a New York City security company that could allow detectives to view live feeds from security cameras at private businesses around the city, Booker and Police Director Samuel DeMaio said during a press conference this morning.
“We needed to go from the age of the Flinstones to the age of the Jetsons,” Booker said.
Paid for by more than $300,000 in federal grants, the long-ago promised dashboard cameras will be placed in patrol and traffic cruisers, where DeMaio says they will help protect citizens from possible officer misconduct and protect officers from frivolous Internal Affairs complaints.
Booker also announced the city’s partnership with SecureWatch24, a company that provides police with access to their customer’s security camera feeds, as long as the property owner agrees to let detectives watch. The network, which has 23,000 subscribers in New York City, currently has 20 customers in Newark but they are looking to expand, according to Jay Stuck, SecureWatch24’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Despite concerns about privacy, Stuck said the company meticulously tracks who accesses the video streams and when. Police are only allowed to tap into the cameras as a crime is being committed or during the course of an active investigation, Stuck said.
DeMaio also announced an online service that allows residents to report non-violent crimes via the department’s web site. Booker said the move will allow residents to file complaints and help the short-staffed department save “literally thousands” of man hours.
DeMaio applauded the cameras and a locator system that allows police leaders to track the location of department cruisers, saying he’s doing his best to make the state’s largest police agency more open to the public.
“One of the things we committed to back in May was making the Newark Police Department more transparent,” he said.