Newark Police Department to Combat Crime at No Taxpayer Expense
The Newark Police Department and SecureWatch 24, a leading security company in New York City with a network operations center located in Moonachie, N.J., are partnering in an unprecedented relationship to combat local crime by allowing the police access to SW24 customer video recordings.
The agreement allows the Newark Police to access local SW24 customer video records upon request in order to aid criminal investigations. Local SW24 customers will agree in advance to allow such access. There are currently several dozen SW24 customers in the Newark area with more than 300 cameras in various locations—a valuable strategic resource to the police department's efforts to reduce crime. SW24 is already obtaining permissions from its customers as part of this effort. SW24 maintains a video management network of over 22,000 cameras throughout New York City and New Jersey.
"As far as we know this agreement between a public law enforcement entity and a private security company is unprecedented in New Jersey—it shows how forward thinking the Newark Police Department is," said Desmond Smyth, SW24 president. "Our local customers will agree to make their videos available to the police—thereby giving the police access to over 300 cameras without the need for taxpayers to pay a nickel. Our network of cameras is a "force multiplier" for the 2,000 men and women of the Newark Police Department."
SW24 has a long history of assisting local New Jersey law enforcement to apprehend criminal suspects, Smyth said. Since last December, SW24 says it has helped in the prosecution of 11 suspected rapists, murders and other serious criminals. The Hudson County prosecutor and SW24 recently worked together several months ago to arrest a suspected rapist.
SW24 said it worked closely with Peter Lutz, MIS/I.T. director at the Newark Police Department on the collaboration. Representatives of Mayor Cory Booker's office were also included in the discussions that resulted in a recently signed Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the police and the security company. In the future, a video terminal may be installed by SW24 in the city's Rapid Transit Operations Center so trained personnel can do real-time video surveillance— but only with prior customer permission. The agreement comes at a time when a controversial ordinance requiring video cameras in certain types of Newark bars and restaurants recently took effect. The Newark Police department is fast becoming one of the most technologically advanced departments in the country and reliance on video surveillance should be a key aspect of future investigations, SW24 added.
"Most of the senior management of SW24 is retired New York City Police officers, and David De Lucca, our representative in New Jersey who worked with the Director's people at the department to put this agreement together, is also a retired New Jersey police officer. So we understand the needs of the police in putting together solid evidence against a suspect. We're not Big Brother, but we are "One Cop to Another," said Smyth.