Working together to weave a citywide security network
The Atlanta Police Department draws on private and public cameras to combat crime and improve emergency preparedness
“Operation Shield is a two-way street. The police department gets eyes in a particular area they might not have had before, and at the same time, it gives businesses peace of mind that APD can see what’s going on and respond faster should the need arise.” Thomas Sutton, Senior Police Officer of the Atlanta, Georgia Police Department.
With nearly half a million people, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) needed an affordable way to augment its citywide surveillance efforts to better protect its citizens. Launching Operation Shield, a video integration initiative that pulls video resources from private and public entities into a single command center, would provide law enforcement with a more holistic real-time view of situations across the entire city. The challenge would be to devise a robust platform that could potentially scale to 10,000+ cameras employing a mix of camera brands, networks and video management systems.
APD initially deployed 17 surveillance cameras across the downtown area. That number has since grown to over 400 of which nearly 90% are from the AXIS Q60 PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) Network Camera Series. Other city organizations like MARTA (Atlanta’s rapid transit authority), Atlanta Public School System, as well as the departments of Public Works, Watershed Management, and Aviation contribute another 4,000 cameras to the surveillance network. The biggest growth came through partnerships with other entities such as local businesses and multi-family housing properties. Using a combination of wireless mesh, fiber and 4G connections, the video streams to secure cloud storage where it can be pulled and disseminated as needed. The whole operation is integrated together through a PSIM (Physical Security Information Management System).
APD now has access to 24/7 surveillance throughout the city without the prohibitive cost of owning and maintaining all those cameras themselves. Private businesses, shopping malls and housing complexes that share their live video with the police department get the benefit of a more rapid, better-prepared response from emergency responders.