New cameras to provide ‘eyes’ on the river

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This photograph shows a good portion of the Covington riverfront where the 18 new cameras will be mounted and also gives a sample of the type of view that the cameras will offer. Used courtesy of Ohio River Port Security Camera Program, the image was from video shot by an existing camera located on the Anderson Pavilion in Smale Park in Cincinnati.

Grant to help First Responders improve safety along waterfront 

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington will soon have more "eyes" keeping watch on its riverfront … 18 of them, in fact.
 
The “eyes” are cameras, part of a new wireless video surveillance system that will also be linked to an existing comprehensive network called the Ohio River Port Security Camera Program.
 
Thanks to a Port Security Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Covington Board of Commissioners recently approved a contract for nearly $180,000 with Digital Visions Security Technologies to supply and install the cameras between the Licking River and the Brent Spence Bridge.
 
“Basically this adds additional eyes in an area that’s challenging to patrol, enabling us to both protect assets such as the new Riverfront Commons features and enhance the safety of people who visit the area,” said Lt. Col. Brian Valenti, assistant chief of the Covington Police Department.
 
Valenti said the exact placement of the cameras is still being worked out, but some will be mounted on poles and others on buildings, giving “views” from a variety of heights and angles.
 
As of now, 14 of the cameras will have a 180-degree field of view and four will be able to rotate 360 degrees and also have 40X zoom capability. All will feature both day and night vision.
 
In answer to a question, Valenti assured commissioners that the cameras will not show private residences.
 
Covington police do not have the staffing required to monitor the cameras in real time but have the ability to do so if necessary or during special events, Valenti said. Footage will be recorded and kept for at least 14 days.
 
To help design the system, Valenti worked with consultant Barry Whitton, who helped create and until December oversaw the 800-camera network in Cincinnati that, among other things, monitors 25 miles of the Ohio River riverfront.
 
“The river camera network has been very successful, and it’s been used for a lot of different things,” said Whitton, of RiverCity Security Consultants.
 
First Responders have reviewed footage or watched in real time during a wide variety of scenarios, including:
·      Runaway barges.
·      Collisions with bridges.
·      Boat accidents.
·      Drownings.
·      Incidents on bridges.
·      Floods.
·      And special events like Riverfest, Paddlefest, and the Ohio River Swim.
 
“Whether it’s rescue or recovery, any time there’s a river incident, we review footage,” Whitton said.
 
The cameras also provide insight during tabletop exercises following training scenarios used to prepare for emergencies like terrorist attacks or an “active shooter,” he said.
 
In Covington, the cameras will also be helpful in monitoring the soon-to-be-completed section of Riverfront Commons, the regional walking and biking trail along the river that also includes a 1,350-seat amphitheater on the riverfront just west of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Valenti said.
 
Right now, the Ohio River Port Security Camera Program operates a couple of cameras in Covington, “but these new cameras will greatly expand our capability,” Valenti said. “We look forward to getting them online.”
 
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