Wireless Video Surveillance Deployed in L.A. County


Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department (LASD) has implemented a wireless video surveillance system in the streets of Lynnwood, Calif. The system is enabled by Firetide Inc., a developer of wireless mesh and access networks.

The 13-square-mile area served by LASD’s Century Station – which is home to more than 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.

“We thought it would have a greater impact for the citizens by deploying [the surveillance system] in an area that was in the most need of it,” Deputy Sherriff Chris Kovac tells SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. “We’ve already made arrests utilizing the surveillance system. We’ve only had it out for a couple weeks now and videos are already being used in cases pertaining to shootings and homicides. I’d say the impact has been significant.”

Deputy Kovac is a member of the department’s Advanced Surveillance and Protection Plan (ASAP). ASAP works toward deploying and coordinating advanced technologies for the sheriff’s department.

Video cameras have been deployed at key intersections, near schools and near two hospitals. The broadcast-quality (30 frames per second) video is transported in real-time over the Firetide 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.

“We’re now creating fusion centers in which we take our 9-1-1 call center, our dispatch operations, and video surveillance and place them all in one room,” Kovac tells SSI. “All the information is available to the people who make the decisions so dispatch can coordinate the units in the field immediately.”

According to Kovac, Firetide was able to engineer their system in one week, and deploy it in a second week – a turnaround that has been beneficial to the department.

“We’re very impressed with the way that system is operating,” says Kovac. “We’re looking to not only expand the Century station system which handles the Lynnwood area, but also the other sheriff’s stations. In fact, we have well over two dozen stations throughout Los Angeles County. We already have cities that are moving toward video surveillance.”

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