Sheriff's Office rolling out fleet of crime prevention cameras

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It's been several years in the making.

Now, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office is contracting with an Atlanta-based company to install 10 "crime prevention" video cameras in strategic spots around unincorporated Baldwin County.

The locations of the cameras are "based on data and data driven," according to Sheriff Bill Massee, and the locations were selected based on "high traffic areas" and "high crime areas." The network of cameras, which will be cloud-based, is expected to become operational within a week or two. 

The cameras will include both around-the-clock video and license plate readers.

The Sheriff's Office won't maintain any sort of central command room, like something out of the movies, where a series of people watch a series of monitors. Instead, deputies and detectives will review the footage retroactively following a crime or incident.

"I know that a lot of people have become increasingly concerned about crime in the community, and I think that this will be an excellent addition and an excellent tool for our department," Massee said.

Massee got the green light for the project after the county commission approved the project and allocated funding. For many years, there wasn't any great sense of urgency among the county commissioners to fund a security camera project for the Sheriff's Office. However, the crime surge around Milledgeville/Baldwin County that began with the pandemic, whether correlation or causation, created a new sense of urgency.

Flock Safety is the name of the company contracted by the county commission. According to its website, which can be checked out HERE, "7/10 crimes are committed with the use of a vehicle. Capture the vehicle details you need to track leads and solve crime. Flock Safety’s patented Vehicle Fingerprint™ technology lets you search by vehicle make, color, type, license plate, state of the license plate, missing plate, covered plate, paper plate, and unique vehicle details like roof racks, bumper stickers, and more."

The new Flock Safety camera will tie into a series of existing cameras, including the RedSpeed cameras in front of Baldwin High, John Milledge Academy and Georgia Military College, as well as cameras in the Milledgeville Manor and public housing developments in Milledgeville. All will be part of theHigh Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) network, which is overseen by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. According to its website, "The DEA plays a very active role and has more than 1,500 authorized special agent positions dedicated to the program. At the local level, the HIDTAs are directed and guided by Executive Boards composed of an equal number of regional Federal and non-Federal (state, local, and tribal) law enforcement leaders. The 2021 HIDTA annual budget is $290 million."

Meanwhile, Baldwin2k News asked Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord if the city also was planning to install new safety cameras, but Swicord was noncommittal.

"We are still looking at different avenues to detour crime in several areas," he said.


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