If they look up, people visiting downtown Alexandria will notice a number of boxes mounted on light poles with red and blue flashing lights and a large Alexandria Police Department decal. The devices are new security cameras being deployed as part of the City of Alexandria’s ongoing effort to improve public safety downtown.
“This is the next step in our commitment to improve security and public safety throughout Alexandria,” Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall explained. “We are starting downtown, building on the safety improvements we have already made with the creation of the Harbor Patrol Division, to ensure the safety of our students and other visitors. This is just Phase I. Ultimately, we plan to have cameras like this throughout the city.”
Public Safety Commissioner Daryl Terry said the first phase includes 65 cameras at 15 locations in the downtown area. “Each unit has 4 cameras, and some have a fifth camera that can pan the area,” Terry said. “We focused on Main, Murray and Winn streets to start with to cover the main pathways CLTCC students will be walking. We will also have cameras in the amphitheater area and where other downtown events take place.”
Terry and others researched available options and felt this system best fit the needs of the city. “We were able to get it under a state contract, which helped to keep the cost down,” Police Chief, Jerrod King, explained. The system will be monitored 24 hours a day and is accessible to staff who receive calls and dispatch officers. Terry added that in the case of police getting a call for assistance, officials can check the camera in the area to provide additional information to responding officers. “This system saves man hours and will help us solve crimes more quickly,” King said.
Terry agreed the system provides a valuable investigative tool. While the primary monitoring stations will be in the Harbor Patrol headquarters and the communications center at the Public Safety Complex, officers can also view camera data at the Mobile Command Center.
“This is a force multiplier for us,” King said. “We can’t always have an officer in every city location, but the cameras give us the ability to monitor areas even when an officer isn’t present. This is how police departments are using technology to protect their city.”