Police cameras along the Pier and Third Street Promenade have “reached the end of their useful life” according to a recent report by Chief Cynthia Renaud. In fact, many of the cameras initially installed at Santa Monica’s busiest tourist destinations and nearby alleyways are now “inoperable and need replacement.” Renaud did not specify exactly how many of the city’s 125 cameras are broken in her report.
The City Council has already moved forward with a $1.5 million contract with Convergint Technologies to replace the analog system with digital cameras and eventually expand the police department’s closed circuit television system to other parts of the city over the next five years.
The first wave of analog cameras was installed in 2006 to address security deficiencies identified by the Department of Homeland Security. Many of those cameras are no longer operable. The ones that still work only support lower resolution video.
“The recorded video captured by the cameras has often been used for evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies,” the report said. “The cameras also become a critically important tool during special events such as, but not limited to, the LA Marathon and Twilight Concert Series by providing live video to assess crowd levels, general activity and monitor incidents.”
The new cameras will be high resolution, digital models that can watch multiple directions. The 68 cameras along the Promenade will be replaced with 28 cameras with 118 views. The 57 cameras on the Pier will be replaced with 43 cameras with 91 views. Lt. Saul Rodriguez said the cameras will allow officers to zoom in and out to get a clear look at crimes and suspects.
“We will have much better coverage,” said Rodriguez, who clarified the cameras are not connected to facial recognition software.
The City Council approved two contracts with Convergint Technologies, LLC: $1.5 million to install new systems and a second contract for $500,000 for equipment maintenance and periodic cleaning for the next five years.