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Law-enforcement technologyN.J. city augments surveillance cameras with spotlights

Published 26 January 2012

Over the next three months, the East Orange police department will connect high-powered spotlights to their surveillance camera system, so that when camera operators spot suspicious activity they can turn on the bright lights of justice and deter would be criminals

Criminals in East Orange, New Jersey are in for a surprise, as the police department there readies a new automated crime-fighting program.

Over the next three months, the police department will connect high-powered spotlights to their surveillance camera system, so that when camera operators spot suspicious activity they can turn on the bright lights of justice in an effort to deter would be criminals.

Operators, monitoring the video footage in real-time, will have the ability to maneuver both the camera and the light for the best angle.

How many times (do) camera operators wish they could jump through the video screen and intervene in developing criminal situations while they wait for patrol to arrive?” acting Police Chief William Robinson asked at a press conference held for the program’s rollout. “Well, let me tell you, that’s about to change in the city.”

With the help of the Cordero Group and Packetalk, the city will purchase and install the cameras for $7,200 apiece. The city is still currently assessing how many cameras it will ultimately install and where, according to Darryl Jeffries, a spokesman for East Orange.

Funding for the project will come from forfeiture funds rather than the city’s budget.

Upon completion, East Orange will become the first police department in New Jersey to implement this spotlight technology.

So far East Orange’s network of sixty-two surveillance cameras has contributed to a precipitous drop in Essex County’s overall crime rate. Since 2003 crime has decreased more than 77 percent, and in 2010 it fell an additional 11 percent.