The City of Fresno, California is surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful national parks. Fresno has a lively arts scene and a budding technology hub along with an established large-scale agricultural community.
The City of Fresno, California is surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful national parks. Fresno has a lively arts scene and a budding technology hub along with an established large-scale agricultural community. Fresno Police Department serves the City and surrounding area which covers approximately 115 square miles and has a population of approximately 515,000 residents. The department comprises five policing districts supported by an auto theft team, mounted units, air support, tactical teams, canine units and a video policing program.
For more than 10 years, Fresno PD has utilized Pelco
video surveillance in the video policing program to help ensure a safer and more secure community. Images from cameras installed throughout the downtown area were monitored and archived at the City’s Communication Center. As technology advanced, the City kept up with the changes; new IP high definition cameras were phased in to replace aging analog cameras, and the program was expanded to cover additional areas of the City.
Pelco camera technology also provided new opportunities for improving situational awareness, but the department’s existing system configuration could not take full advantage of the technology. Cameras were not monitored 24/7 at the Communication Center; they could not optimize use of the new panoramic cameras; and monitoring multiple scenes from multiple cameras on multiple platforms to quickly assess or investigate incidents was time consuming and inefficient. The system was also closed in so the department could not view images from cameras installed by local businesses or schools.
The department’s move from the Communication Center to its new Real-Time Crime Center (RTCC), and the addition of a new Regional Training Center (RTC), provided the opportunity for Fresno PD to initiate further operational enhancements and expand their video policing program.
With the move to the new RTCC, Fresno PD system operators can now monitor approximately 200 video surveillance cameras, which include both Pelco Spectra and Spectra Enhanced PTZ dome cameras
, along with Pelco Optera Panoramic multi-sensor cameras, on a 24/7 basis. These newer cameras feature Pelco SureVision technology for improved Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) performance and smart compression technology for reduced bit rate usage and storage savings. Pelco Spectra Enhanced cameras feature a full suite of built-in analytics and single cable Hi-POE installation. The cameras also feature HD optimized dome bubble technology, a revolutionary solid pendant design to eliminate vibration noise, 20X or 30X optical zoom, and precise 360° PTZ control.
Pelco Optera Panoramic cameras provide completely stitched, seamless and blended 360°, 270° and 180° panoramic views with electronic PTZ capability across the entire panoramic image. With Pelco SureVision technology, the Optera Panoramic cameras capture superior images in difficult lighting conditions where highly contrasted lighting sources exist within the same scene.
“The advanced technology and imaging quality in our new Pelco cameras has significantly improved our monitoring and response capability,” said Sergeant Steve Casto of the Fresno Police Department. “In some locations we have both an Optera and a Spectra camera installed. This gives us a bigger picture and allows us to view what the PTZ may have missed. If something is noticed, we use the advanced optical zoom of the Spectra camera to zoom in and get more detail. The two cameras complement each other and heighten situational awareness.”
Control of the video surveillance system was upgraded from the Pelco Endura VMS to the company’s VideoXpert VMS at both the RTC and new RTCC. Improvements over the previous VMS solution include a unified user interface for improved centralized system management; incident management to easily and quickly correlate related video files; improved event management to customize event alerts with real-time visual notification; and immersive viewing of 180°, 270° and 360° panoramic images from Pelco Optera Cameras.
In addition to these improvements, the VideoXpert’s open platform allowed Fresno PD to cast a wider net for monitoring and response by allowing video sources from local businesses, retail centers, schools and hospitals to be integrated into their resident VMS. It also allows Fresno PD to incorporate third-party applications for additional operational improvements. For instance, by integrating a mapping application within VideoXpert, the Department was able to simplify and speed up the process of addressing and responding to various and multiple alerts and calls.
The benefit of 24/7 real-time monitoring and better video management and control has been an increase in officer safety, according to Sergeant Casto. When officers are in the field at a scene, operators at the RTCC can quickly and easily pull up a video feed of the scene to assess and offer assistance.
He says, “In one instance where an officer was in a physical altercation with a suspect and wasn’t able to broadcast that he needed help, the officers at RTCC could see the situation and dispatched help to resolve the situation safely. Additionally, by seeing and assessing the situation beforehand, we can provide details and warnings to the field so they know what to expect when they arrive on scene.”
VideoXpert was installed first at the Regional Training Center and then at the RTCC. Both locations have the capability for monitoring and control of the installed cameras. The changeover was simplified because Endura components map nearly one to one with VideoXpert. Pelco’s simple migration process transferred user names, roles, permissions and the associations from Endura to VideoXpert so that all user data would be maintained in the new system. The migration process also transferred all existing camera names, numbers, groups, and locations to VideoXpert which made the transition faster and less susceptible to manual input errors.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with this upgraded Pelco surveillance system,” said Sergeant Casto. “Law enforcement’s first job is safety, and not only are our officers and community safer, but we are more efficient and effective as a police department with the new Pelco cameras and VMS.”