Public safety will always be a top priority with governments around the world, but protecting our communities can be challenging for law enforcement. Often, when a crime takes place, it can take a few minutes before the police can respond, and even a minute can make a difference between life and death. There is also a financial challenge. While there is an abundance of new technology available to help governments and police departments, making changes to infrastructure can be costly. Enter Community Connect.
Long-time Miller partner Genetec, offers a cloud-based video monitoring service called Community Connect; This is a platform where law enforcement agencies can connect to cameras owned by local businesses and gain access to real-time coverage.
We brought the idea to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. They could immediately see the benefits of this program. The Sheriff’s office then took the proposal for this initiative to McDonald’s. By tying into their existing cameras, law enforcement can have access to real-time action and can see when a crime is taking place at the precise moment. They can dispatch units and catch the criminals with their hands in the cookie jar. The Clay Community Connect (C3) was born.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office was able to show the program’s success to other local businesses such as Gate Petroleum, McDonald’s, and others, and now they can tie into their cameras and give them access to the street views all over the county. They also have a designated officer-in-charge who can view the live footage at their Real-time Crime Center. Lieutenant Jeff Johnson brings the agreements to the businesses to sign them up for the initiative.
Furthermore, by tying into existing cameras, the local government does not have to purchase cameras or make costly changes to the infrastructure. They can do more with less, improving services without significantly affecting the budget.
How do we do it?
We have what it’s called a federated connection, which is provided by Genetec. We can connect the businesses’ existing camera system and federate into the Sheriff’s camera system. This process creates a streaming view of the cameras for both live and recorded imagery. Once the agreement is signed with the local businesses, we make the federation connection between the company and the Sheriff’s office.
This initiative’s success was shared with multiple Sheriff’s offices in other counties in the State of Florida. We have now installed connections in Clay County, St. Johns County, and we are also working on installations in Duval and Nassau counties.
A win-win-win situation
By creating a public-private partnership that improves the quality of life in the community, everyone wins. Local businesses benefit from real-time coverage and response from law enforcement, but they also take an active role in improving public safety in their communities. Law enforcement can identify and quickly respond to situations to keep people safe. Real-time footage equips officers with the information they need as soon as they need it. Residents will feel safer knowing that they are being protected and that they are a part of a safer community built on collaboration.
Community Connect in Action
Recently, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office was monitoring the cameras at a local McDonald’s and easily identified a stabbing suspect within an hour of the occurrence. Not only were they able to get a dangerous criminal off the streets, but they were also able to save hundreds of man-hours trying to track down the individual. Law enforcement was able to apprehend the suspect quickly, and it was all because of the real-time coverage provided by Community Connect.
Quote from Lt. Jeff Johnson CCSO:
” The creation of the Clay Community Connect or C3 program is changing the way the Clay County Sheriff’s Office conducts business. It has brought us even closer with the business community by creating a partnership using state-of-the-art crime-fighting technologies to reduce crime in our neighborhoods. To date, we have saved the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by reducing investigative hours, adding situational awareness to the boots on the ground, and the deterrence of criminal activity. We have been adding locations since its start, and we currently have 11 locations participating in the program. In total, the CCSO has over 150 cameras, and the program is moving to the next step by building a Real-Time Crime Center where we will respond faster and be better informed to reduce crime in our county.”