a total fiber network would have been prohibitive, because in addition to the costs of tunneling and boring pipe for the fiber, a host of permitting issues would have considerably delayed the project. Also, the selected microwave is very robust and built above the current bandwidth need to support potential future projects.

One of the system's features lets dispatchers move cameras and zoom in on potential nontraffic-related problems. Staff can pan, tilt and zoom the devices to look at many of the surrounding businesses and monitor potential situations, such as bank robberies. Using the software developed by Transcore, staff can also call up pre-set positions that rapidly reposition the PTZ cameras at the touch of a button. This feature instantly moves the camera to any of the banks or businesses in its field of view.

With the first phase of this project complete and working as planned, more intersections will soon be equipped with similar devices.

The overall project is divided into three phases: phase I -- installation of the backbone fiber/microwave network and cameras at two intersections; phase II-- microwave and cameras at two to three additional intersections plus deployment of the Tropos Wi-Fi network; and phase III -- the completion of a fiber ring around the center of the city with multiple cameras installed at strategic locations to monitor the city's jogging path.

Once this project is completed, the police department will be able to view live video from multiple intersections and areas of concern. Because the backbone data network is robust, the department can now support its own 802.11 wireless network. Installation of a new Tropos Wi-Fi network will let the department supplement the existing mobile data connectivity to officers' vehicles through Verizon's cellular network.

At this time, it's not the city's intent to expand this service to the general public. This network is being constructed and managed as a completely secure network to support police and city functions.

With greater speed to the patrol cars' mobile data systems, the police department will be able to stream the same live traffic video to officers and add additional video stream from banks and convenience stores.

This added benefit will let officers see what's going on inside a business when responding to alarms or disturbance calls before entering the premises. The police department will work with local businesses and banks to install supplemental Internet protocol-compatible digital video recorders (DVRs) to the businesses' existing camera networks. The DVRs will then be connected using secured 802.11 devices on the Tropos network. Once this is achieved, the department will be able to view video from the business cameras hooked up to the DVR.

This project brings the Aventura Police Department to the forefront of technology advances for a police agency. The department will not only address traffic concerns more effectively, but will also enhance both officer and citizen safety.

Sgt. Tom Labombarda  |  Contributing writer