The West Hartford Police Department has launched a new community initiative to improve the use of video surveillance as a tool.
By Ronni Newton
The West Hartford Police Department’s new community policing initiative, the “Video Sharing Program” (VSP), is now up and running, and Capt. Michael Perruccio said it’s just one more tool that will assist the department and at the same time enhance community engagement.
Participation in VSP will allow West Hartford Police to create a registry of external video surveillance systems that are already in place at residences and businesses throughout the community. Police will then be able to use that information for assistance in detecting crimes as well as identifying, apprehending, and convicting individuals associated with criminal activity.
The registry will include names and phone numbers, and police will be able to use it to contact residents or businesses when something happens nearby, to see if they may have images or footage that could be useful. Police are not always aware of cameras in parking lots, and an increasing number of residences now have video security systems.
“We will not have direct access [to the devices],” Perruccio said. “We are simply looking for people to say, ‘I have a camera at my house.'”
They type of camera doesn’t matter, he said. The police department has staff who are proficient at obtaining information from a variety of technology, and they will make it as easy as possible for those who are providing the video or photos.
“We don’t want it to be cumbersome,” Perruccio said, and it will not be intrusive. No one will be contacted unless there is criminal activity in the vicinity, and in that case police may request review of the footage.
Lt. Aaron Vafiades, commander of the Community Relations Department, will compile the registry and manage VSP, and he can be reached at 860-570-8821.
Those participating in the program will also be provided with a window sticker indicating they are part of the program, and the sticker can be displayed if desired. It will indicate that the resident or business has partnered with police, and could also be a deterrent to criminal activity, Perruccio said.
“We are always looking for more ways to connect with the community,” Perruccio said, but he was sure to give credit for this idea to the Bristol (CT) Police Department which already has a similar program in place.
Perruccio said the program can help make the Town of West Hartford a safer place to live.
More information, as well as the registration form, can be found on the town’s website through this link.
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