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Seal Beach Police Department continue work on network camera project

Camera monitors in the watch commander's office of the Seal Beach Police Department. Courtesy photo.
Camera monitors in the watch commander’s office of the Seal Beach Police Department. Courtesy photo.

The Seal Beach Police Department routinely patrols the city’s beaches, parks, and all residences/businesses within our five City Council Districts. When calls for service are generated throughout other areas of town, it is difficult to have a continual police presence in every area of the city. Because of this and in response to receiving funds from the 2018 Measure BB general sales tax, the City of Seal Beach Police Department has developed innovative programs to better monitor and reduce crime from occurring in our town.

For example, the Seal Beach Police Department has been installing network cameras strategically throughout public areas of the city to assist in achieving our mission of driving down crime and improving the quality of life for all in Seal Beach. Furthermore, the network camera system has a goal of assisting in the overall traffic management plan and enhancing integrated crime prevention/suppression measures.

Camera monitors inside the West Comm dispatch center at Seal Beach Police Department. Courtesy photo.
Camera monitors inside the West Comm dispatch center at Seal Beach Police Department. Courtesy photo.

With this, when the 2018 Measure BB general sales tax increase went into place, it was our promise to the community that we would improve current levels of public safety through technological upgrades. Because of that, here is our follow-through, as video surveillance throughout our open spaces in town has and will now continue to be a critical tool for years to come. This necessity was greater highlighted during the September 2020 police reform demonstrations that drew several hundred participants and officers to the Main Street areas. Cameras can become the “eyes” of the city without having to put more officers out on the street.

A command console has been established where specially trained staff can monitor video feeds in the Watch Commander’s Office and West-Comm Dispatch Center. Individuals monitoring the camera system will have the ability to control cameras remotely to follow events as they occur. Most cameras have a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. The average cost per camera is approximately $2,000. As a cost savings measure, cameras were built in house using component parts.

Additionally, it is our goal to have full transparency regarding the locations of the network cameras and their purpose. To honor this promise, please see below for our current locations and future project locations:

Current:

  • The Police Department
  • City Hall
  • Marina Center Park
  • 1st St Public Works Building
  • San Gabriel River
  • Bike Path / 1st St Park
  • Central / Main Street
  • Police Substation / Lifeguard HQ
  • North Side of Pier
  • South Side of Pier
  • Zero Tower
  • In Front of Substation

Future installations:

  • Public Works
  • Public Works Utility Buildings
  • Traffic Cameras on Seal Beach Blvd and Westminster
  • Bay Theater
  • Chase Bank

In addition to the law enforcement function of these cameras, the system will also be used to support city departments. For example, during rain events where flooding is anticipated, the camera system can be used to assist Public Works and responding patrol officers to address flooded areas more quickly.

A couple additional items to note specifically related to the network cameras:

1) They do not contain facial recognition software.
2) They are not recording audio conversations.
3) Only a select few, City of Seal Beach Police Department staff, have access to the system.
4) They follow through on two of the components of the 2021 Seal Beach Police Department CARES Campaign: “C”ommunity Traffic Safety and “R”esponsive to Quality of Life Issues.
5) They fall in line with our Main Street Revitalization project.
6) They are used to not just capture crime, but deter crime from happening, particularly since these cameras are in open spaces and not hidden from the naked eye.
7) The cameras are not meant to replace police patrols of certain areas of the city, but rather to provide an additional tool for responding officers.
8) They will now be used to monitor surf conditions and provide our lifeguards with an extra set of lenses towards the following areas:

a. San Gabriel River Trail
b. San Gabriel River Mouth/Jetty
c. Pacific Ocean
d. Public facilities
e. Community parks

“By creating innovative and cost-effective solutions, such as the use of video surveillance as a crime fighting tool and police force multiplier, our ability to help solve crimes and collect evidence is greatly increased,” said Chief of Police Philip L. Gonshak.

Please direct any questions about the network camera system to Lieutenant Nick Nicholas who can be reached at (562) 799-4100 extension 1160 or [email protected]

To download a master map of the cameras, click here.

This article was released by the Seal Beach Police Department.