Trending Topics

‘Safer together': Ga. sheriff’s office asks residents to register home security camera systems

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office will not have direct access to the camera feeds; instead, it will reach out to residents requesting footage if a crime occurs near a registered camera

Ring Camera Police

FILE - A Ring doorbell camera is seen installed outside a home in Wolcott, Conn., July 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Jessica Hill/AP

By Jessica Payne
The Macon Telegraph

BIBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is asking residents with home surveillance cameras to register their devices with law enforcement, a move which officials say will improve the ability to solve and deter crime.

Registering a camera with the sheriff’s office allows officers to more quickly find residents who could provide evidence to investigators.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is doing this because it hopes to see results like Atlanta has seen in a similar initiative — the Atlanta Police Department has had the community register more than 20,000 cameras, according to the website for Connect Atlanta. More than 18,000 cameras have also been “integrated,” which allows Atlanta law enforcement to access the camera’s feeds.

“Our efforts are part of a broader strategy to enhance public safety and reduce crime through a combination of advanced surveillance technology and community policing,” Batchelor said. “Operation Safer Together seeks to fortify partnerships between law enforcement and local businesses, residents, and community organizations to proactively combat crime.”

How will officers access footage?

Batchelor said officers will not access the feed themselves and won’t have real-time access to the cameras. At the request of law enforcement, the homeowner can access their own feed and provide it to law enforcement.

“Law enforcement will never have access to your system, controls, or data,” he said. “Police do not have direct access to the footage and cannot get access without consent.”

The initiative, called Operation Safer Together, allows residents to register their exterior security cameras with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

For residents willing to participate in “Operation Safer Together,” Bibb County Sheriff’s Office investigators will reach out to residents if a crime occurs in their area, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said it doesn’t have a written policy governing “Operation Safer Together,” but there would be a directive implemented in the near future.

Community members can contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at any time to un-register their device, the sheriff’s office said.

Why Bibb sheriff wants residents to register cameras

The initiative allows officers to have readily-available resources to find surveillance footage if a crime happens near a registered camera, without needing to do door-to-door canvassing. The footage can help them identify suspects and provide crucial evidence when in court, potentially leading to convictions or exonerating people wrongly accused. Captain Jason Batchelor also said it can help deter crime, aid in real-time crime fighting and build community trust and relations. It can also help with technological advancement.

“Access to footage from registered cameras can significantly aid law enforcement in solving crimes,” he said. “If a crime occurs in the vicinity of a registered device, investigators can quickly contact the owner to check if their cameras captured relevant evidence.”

He also said it can “lead to faster identification and apprehension of suspects.”

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis encouraged community members to sign up for the new initiative which launched last week.

“This new program will partner with our successful FLOCK camera system to give our residents and businesses an opportunity to connect their monitoring devices so that evildoers can be identified and brought to justice,” he said.

Community members interested in registering their external monitoring devices can go to the Bibb County Safe website page to sign up.

Information on registered monitoring devices is only accessible by the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and will not be disseminated.

The initiative comes not long after Amazon-owned Ring stopped police and fire departments from being able to request users’ doorbell video footage, according to The Hill.

Ring said in January it will end its “Request for Assistance” tool, meaning public safety agencies will no longer be able to request and receive video in its Neighbors app.

The company did not provide a reason for the decision.

This story was originally published March 28, 2024 , 5:00 AM.


(c)2024 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.)
Visit The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.) at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.