Rhode Island Police Station Uses IP Video Surveillance

The new Charlestown, Rhode Island, police station was built more than a year ago, providing the opportunity to upgrade surveillance tools with the latest technology, including scalable IP video software from Milestone Systems.

The coastal community of Charlestown, Rhode Island, includes the largest camp grounds on the entire eastern seaboard, and eight miles of beachfront. There are two state beach facilities and two town beaches, plus about six miles of unprotected beach with a 70-acre park.

This area therefore expands dramatically in summertime, adding 10,000 visitors, which demands more vigilance from the local police force of 20 full-time officers. Staffing does not necessarily increase for this season, but the officers are getting help from the virtual eyes of surveillance cameras that never get tired. The Milestone management software provides an easy-to-use interface and records video for evidence that is used in court to ensure convictions.

Domestic violence is the biggest problem with significant increases in other typical societal crimes as the population explodes in summer. The police station often holds perpetrators overnight in cells until they go for arraignment in court the next day. The most serious crime so far has been two people charged with murder, but the usual activities range from drug matters, drunk driving and moving vehicle violations, to warrants, assaults, arson and theft.

Milestone XProtect video management software is operating a mix of surveillance cameras from Videology and Axis, with some analog infrared cameras run through Videology 4-channel video encoders. The Milestone user interface for managing the cameras and viewing live or recorded video is installed on standard Dell computers. The Certified Milestone Partner handling the implementation is Danetech Inc.

The central radio dispatch and control room provides excellent overview of the station inside and out, upstairs and down, with wall monitors displaying the surveillance video. Hallways, main doors, holding cells for people in detention and the interrogation rooms are well monitored, as is the fleet of police vehicles and specially-renovated duck boat.

The officers report using recordings from the Milestone IP video software many times as evidence in court that helps to ensure convictions of the perpetrators. The ability to easily expand the system to include all the park and beach facilities, as well as the Town Hall, will be an advantage to ensure greater safety and faster response in times of need.

“A big benefit of this digital video system is the ability to expand it to cover more of our public areas and buildings. We’ve talked about a ‘virtual network' to include the parks and Town Hall for central control of our entire community, which would be easy to do with the IP video approach,” said Patrick J. McMahon of the Emergency Services Unit in Charlestown.

Traffic control is another facet of the police activities they can monitor with surveillance cameras. More traffic lights are being added yearly and there are cameras to go with them along the Route 1 artery already.

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