Brookhaven, GA, April 27, 2017 – by Trey Benton – In the City of Brookhaven, the Police Department is working through the process of developing a “partnership” with Georgia Power on a brand new program to install Video Monitoring and License Plate Recognition (ALPR or LPR) devices at several locations in the City. Earlier this year, a “test camera” was installed in a new development in Historic Brookhaven called Brookhaven Forest.
Developer Mike Elliot told The Post the camera installed in his community was Georgia Power’s very first installation. “The camera installed in Brookhaven Forest enables the neighborhood to see who has been in and out of the community and holds that data for seven days,” said Elliot. “This gives our residents peace of mind that if a crime does occur, we can share our video footage with the Police Department which puts us ahead of the game in trying to identify a suspect.”
Already, BPD works with interested communities through “Operation Plugged In,” a voluntary program that lets police know where video surveillance cameras are located in the city. This effort is designed to provide police officers with more crime-solving tools. Police Chief Gary Yandura says that when officers are able to access video recordings of criminal incidents, the department is often able to more efficiently solve crimes and arrest suspects. BPD describes the program as a police/community video partnership that operates on a voluntary basis with homeowners, neighborhoods and business owners who own private video security systems that record public areas such as roads, parking lots and sidewalks.
But the City is looking to go beyond privately owned video cameras. They are looking to place as many as 106 LPR cameras and 52 video cameras at suitable locations throughout the City to create a network of sorts.
During the April 25, 2017, Brookhaven City Council Work Session, BPD Corporal David Snively gave a presentation prepared in conjunction with Chief Yandura, to Councilmembers. According to BPD, similar to law enforcement agencies around the world, the department has been utilizing video cameras and automated license plate readers as part of their response to and investigation of crimes since the department began operating in mid-2013.
These devices, BPD notes, especially when they are used together, “are increasingly instrumental in the detection and deterrence of crime, providing both evidence of criminal activity and a disincentive to criminals who might otherwise prey on Brookhaven residents.”
When the City of Brookhaven approved the FY 2017 Budget, $356,000 was allocated and approved for the initiative. That amount is projected to fund 65/LPR cameras and 30 video cameras and will be an annual recurring cost and will be requested as part of the FY 2018 budget should a pilot program that is underway prove to be successful.
The new program Georgia Power is preparing to roll out, with Brookhaven slated to be the first municipality to participate, a leasing option has been introduced whereas Georgia Power will own and install the equipment allowing the upfront costs to be minimized. Before now, even if the City were to have purchased their own cameras, they would have still needed access to power poles to put the cameras on – and those are owned by Georgia Power.
Throughout the City of Brookhaven, BPD says they have identified locations that would be suitable for at least 106 LPR cameras and 52 video cameras. BPD says the identified areas include “major access points in and out of the City, and coverage at City parks and buildings.”
BPD says until now, the high cost of purchasing, operating, and maintaining these devices has limited access to this type of equipment. “The need for physical locations conducive to camera installation further complicates the utilization of these important tools,” says BPD.
With the new Georgia Power program, they would own the poles and the cameras and Brookhaven would lease access. This also means that as technology changes (projected to be every 3 years), Georgia Power would replace the cameras with new technology themselves with little, if any, effort by the City.
Here is the complete proposal supplied to Councilmembers on April 25th.