Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Westport officials hope to expand a program that brought security cameras to the Saugatuck Metro-North train station by making the images available in a live feed to police headquarters.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced in October that 16 cameras would be placed at the station (see WestportNow Oct. 7, 2006) and they were installed earlier this month. But under the state plan, the images are stored on a computer hard drive at the station so they can be reviewed after any incidents.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said town officials are working with the Department of Transportation to install technology that would bring the images back to police headquarters for real-time viewing.
“We may be unique to any of the places that have these cameras,” he said.
Police Chief Al Fiore said the cameras now provide video evidence of any incident, but having the live feed would offer police a chance for proactive protection.
Police dispatchers may not monitor the video at the train station at every moment, he said, but they will check it regularly.
They could then alert the patrol officers who are at the train station if there are any potential problems, he said.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be some serious crime,” he said. “If someone falls down and needs help, we would see that.”
Patrol officers are not always on the platforms or in the station house, Fiore said, and can be patrolling the parking lots.
“This would give us an extra set of eyes,” he said.
There are no tremendous problems at the Saugatuck station, Fiore said, but police officials have taken measures over the years to upgrade security there, including adding new officers several years ago.
“I don’t have anything to quantify it, but I think it makes a difference based on looking at the reports,” he said of the officers at the station. “The commuters say to all of us that they feel better when they come in at night and they see an officer there.”
While the initial plan is to send the feed from the cameras to police headquarters, there are plans to expand where the images are sent in the future, he said.
In the future, he said, he hopes the cameras’ images can be sent to the patrol vehicles in the area via the mobile computers the officers use.
Posted 01/31/07 at 10:06 PM Permalink