City Receives Wireless Video Surveillance Network

EASTON, Pa. — What began as a wireless video surveillance system to secure Easton, Pennsylvania’s West Ward school and parks is growing into a city- and county-wide effort to give local, neighboring and county police an edge in deterring and solving crimes.

Two years ago, the Easton Police Department (EPD) obtained a Department of Justice “Secure Our Schools” federal grant matched by city funds to improve security around an elementary school, just a block away from the site of a 2007 gang-related triple homicide in the city’s West Ward. To do so, the EPD commissioned Let’s Think Wireless to deploy a Firetide-based wireless video surveillance network.

Based on its overwhelming success, the EPD raised additional funds from the city and has now installed 25 Bosch pan-tilt-zoom cameras and 31 Firetide infrastructure mesh nodes covering the Northampton corridor that stretches from the West Ward School to city hall and the police station, including the Riverfront and Amphitheater areas. The Easton network has also been integrated with neighboring Wilson Borough’s Firetide-based wireless video surveillance system of 15 cameras on 16 mesh nodes, giving both city police departments viewing access.

There are three monitoring stations, two of which are in police headquarters where volunteers and police officers may be assigned to monitor special events or to view, in advance of officers arriving on the scene, sites of criminal activities or other incidents. The video, stored for 30 days, may also be used for evidence. The third station is at the West Ward School where school district police and volunteers view the cameras at random or use them to monitor large crowds at sporting or other special events. In the short time since the deployment, burglaries have been solved, school vandals apprehended, stolen cars found, and car thieves identified.

“We have done a lot of planning together with the school district, Wilson Borough, the Northampton County and Lafayette College to pool our collective resources to implement the best possible solution that will meet all of our needs,” said Easton Police Chief Larry Palmer, who has championed the wireless video surveillance system from the start. “We realized early on that it is much more cost-effective and mutually beneficial for us to own, operate and share our wireless video surveillance systems and expand them according to the security needs of our communities.”

The 25-camera Easton network has been up and running for six months. Now, the EPD is working with local Lafayette College to raise funds and expand the network onto the campus. The EPD also plans to integrate the city’s wireless video surveillance network with the Northampton County Sheriff’s fiber network used by the 911 center located in the county courthouse in Easton, the county seat.

“We chose the Firetide-based wireless infrastructure with the goal of building a larger, county-wide video surveillance system. The Firetide wireless network’s frequency agility and channel bonding enables the highest performance for multiple streams of video, and its advanced management features allow it to interoperate well with other wired video systems,” said Mickey Branson, senior director of national sales, Let’s Think Wireless.

“Easton illustrates the scalability and performance of our wireless mesh network and the ease of deployment, expansion and integration as the video surveillance needs of a community grows,” said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. “The Firetide wireless infrastructure is uniquely capable of meeting law enforcement’s demanding video surveillance requirements for multiple purposes, city- and county-wide.”

Read the press release.

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