Palm Beach police department secures leads in 99% of cases with Genetec Security Center

Palm Beach police department secures leads in 99% of cases with Genetec Security Center
Business challenge
The Palm Beach police department (PBPD) is always on the cutting-edge of technology when it comes to protecting the barrier island. With four bridges connecting the mainland, the PBPD implemented automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) technology to track vehicles coming onto the island. After some time, the chosen technology was proving to be unreliable and produced numerous inaccurate reads, if any at all. In its search to replace ALPR cameras, the PBPD decided it was also time to add video surveillance cameras around the island to increase crime solvability.

The PBPD reached out to Johnson Controls, a security solutions provider, who proposed Genetec Security Center as the ideal option for the city’s needs. The unified security platform combines video surveillance, access control and automatic license plate recognition systems under one solution. Since the Town of Palm Beach was already using the AutoVu automatic license plate recognition system within Security Center for parking enforcement and digital tire chalking, the police department was confident moving forward with Genetec. SiteSecure, a security integrator which was recently acquired by Miller Electric Company, was contracted to handle the entire installation in light of its top-rated professionalism, knowledge and certification in Genetec solutions.

Security center video and ALPR used in 90% of apprehensions
Today, Omnicast, the IP video surveillance system of Security Center is managing 150 IP video surveillance cameras from Panasonic. The cameras are installed at main intersections and at every entry point on the island. More video surveillance cameras have been installed alongside 15 AutoVu Sharp IP license plate recognition cameras on Palm Beach bridges to track incoming and outgoing vehicles.

“These cameras are used in 90% of all of our apprehensions, and provides the evidence to solidify our prosecutions,” explained Curtis Krauel, Captain at the Palm Beach Police Department. “Every vehicle coming onto our island is being recorded. If a crime has been committed, we either have a license plate number or video evidence associated to it. It’s like fishing with dynamite.”

AutoVu compares license plate reads to state-controlled criminal databases, such as the Florida Crime Information Center and National Crime Information Center, which alert dispatchers and officers to license plates that are associated to stolen vehicles, stolen license plates, wanted persons, amber alerts, and more. The PBPD also creates its own database within AutoVu, when certain investigations require officers to track specific vehicles or persons of interests coming onto the island.

While the 911 dispatchers are receiving and validating the ALPR hits, Security Center mobile allows law enforcement administrators and investigators to tap into the system at any point in time from their mobile phones and devices. The PBPD uses Security Center Mobile to either monitor important hits and to facilitate undercover surveillance and active apprehensions.

Working with the community to expand surveillance efforts
Privacy can be a concern for citizens when implementing surveillance technology; however, the PBPD leverages the granular user privileges in Security Center to control access to system information.

The PBPD actively engages community members to garner both moral and financial support in its efforts, inviting the public into the police department during open-house events to see the Security Center platform on display.

The community has also benefitted from the new platform in other ways. When one of the bridges had been closed for repairs, camera access was shared with the Palm Beach Traffic Center. Operators could monitor traffic in real-time and control traffic light signals to ensure better traffic flow on and off the island during peak hours, thereby improving the towns accessibility and liveability.

Growing the unified platform over time
Both the community and the police department have seen tremendous benefits from its investment in Security Center and appreciate having the flexibility to expand the system over time. Adding more intuitive features such as Plan Manager, the mapbased interface of Security Center for easier system navigation, as well as implementing the Synergis access control system to secure precinct and city hall doors are options that Captain Krauel said the Town is considering in future expansion of the system.

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