Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Makes Streets Safer with Wireless Video Surveillance

"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."

by / June 18, 2008 0

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Makes Streets Safer with Wireless Video Surveillance

"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."

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, Calif., 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 Inc., a leading developer of wireless mesh and access networks. 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 neighborhood school.


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. Technologies incorporated into ASAP also include acoustic gunshot detection and automatic license plate recognition.

"Wireless video surveillance is changing the way we serve and protect the community," said Capt. 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 citizenry is vocal in its support of the department's taking whatever actions are necessary to make the streets safer.

Video cameras have been deployed at key intersections, near schools, and near two hospitals. The 30 frames-per-second, broadcast-quality video is transported in real-time over the wireless mesh network directly to the integrated video and 9-1-1 dispatch command center, 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.

With the video surveillance system 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 local systems integrator Leverage Information Systems, 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 nonprofit organization 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.

"Century Sheriff's Station joins law enforcement agencies in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Fla. and many other cities that are already using Firetide technology to make the streets safer," Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide noted.