Mesh Without Wires

November 11, 2010

ASIS 2010 Dallas PD Tour Goes Mainstream

The Dallas PD tour at ASIS 2010 continues to garner coverage.

A local news web site Pegasus News picked up the video tour recorded by Steve Titch: Video: Watch criminals strike, from the Dallas Police’s point of view. The author notes:

“The video takes a look into the Dallas Police Department’s video surveillance operations center, toured by Titch on October 11 during American Society for Industrial Security international seminar. Titch is a Houston resident whose business is sharing information about the latest in surveillance. He tells me via email, “I posted the video because it provided difficult-to-get comments from police officers who could speak to their experience with the technology, as well as footage from the operations center itself. For my audience, the video provides an example of an up-to-date implementation of urban video surveillance built incrementally with fairly economical technology (wireless), a topic on which many are seeking more information.”

Security Management magazine, the official publication of ASIS, published a comprehensive story on Dallas security in its October issue, including the Dallas PD use of technology and their camera system. The story also covers the Cowboy Stadium security, Dallas Fusion Center, and provides more details on the role of Downtown Dallas Inc in downtown security: How Dallas Does Security. Quoting from the article:

City surveillance system. Cameras survey the area according to a programmed schedule, but they can only pan down and move side to side so as to protect the privacy of businesses and residents. “All we concentrate on is what is in the public view,” says Lieutenant Tony Crawford, who serves as watch commander and oversees the camera system.

“The main monitoring center is located in the Dallas City Hall along with the police 911 dispatch center. Another monitoring station is placed in the Dallas Fusion Center (more on this later). Approximately 35 police officers work in shifts of four to watch the cameras around the clock. Camera feeds are continuously recorded at 25 frames per second and stored for up to 14 days. According to Crawford, the high resolution helps police capture details such as license plate numbers.

Dallas Fusion Center. The Dallas Police Department’s Fusion Center was founded in 2007 and operated during business hours with three officers until last year when it received $3 million in federal grants under the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative. Now, with 35 officers assigned to the center, it operates around the clock analyzing news, local camera feeds, and national security information.

“Officers monitor more than 25 databases from computer screens located around the center. The video from the city’s camera system feeds into the center, and officers there can control the pan-tilt-zoom features of the cameras if necessary. Also, all 911 calls are fed into the center and recorded. Television screens carry CNN and other 24-hour news stations.”

Since we are on the subject of the Dallas PD tour, here’s a picture I took in the Camera Unit, showing a real-time zoom onto a license plate from the wireless-networked camera. I asked the camera operator to zoom in, and there was no lag or hesitation from the camera:

Camera zoom - Dallas PD ASIS 2010 tour

Camera zoom onto a license plate (click to enlarge)

For more posts from ASIS 2010, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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