MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery Police Department is rolling out a new crime-fighting technology tool that can take public and private cameras that are already in use across the city and bring them onto a single network called STAR Watch.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and police officials discussed the new system at the STAR Watch Center at Montgomery police headquarters Friday morning.
It’s a public safety advancement that’s part of the city’s growing “Smart City” initiative.
Detectives used to have to respond to crime scenes, then fan out to area businesses to ask if they had security cameras and if they could review the footage. That process can take hours. Now, it can take minutes if the camera is connected to the STAR Watch network.
Detectives say the system will allow them to rapidly look for crimes that may be in progress once a call comes in. Authorities can pull up cameras in the area that are linked to STAR Watch and, if needed, dispatch officers to the scene. The development can increase officer safety, authorities said.
The city already has hundreds of cameras in multiple locations at schools and there are multiple cameras aimed at public spaces and roadways that authorities can quickly access. Businesses, homeowners, neighborhood associations and anyone else interested in sharing their live video feed with the program can sign up free of charge.
The mayor said the cameras on the outside of his home will be added to the network, and he said there will be no cameras included that focus on private areas such as those inside a home.
Officials say the security system must be connected to the internet with a URL the STAR Watch can pull from.
The city and county were awarded a $50,000 Department of Justice grant for the system.
This is a developing story that will be updated. Continue checking back for updates.