Park Safety Secrets: SkyCops, Eco-Counters & Teleconferencing Pa - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Park Safety Secrets: SkyCops, Eco-Counters & Teleconferencing Patrols

Park Safety Secrets: SkyCops, Eco-Counters & Teleconferencing Patrols

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
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  • Park safety secrets: CyberWatch

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

You've rolled your bike right past them, maybe even jogged right under them. You probably even stepped on one of them.

They are the technologies, integrated systems and strategies park rangers and police use to track crime in our parks -- and they're pretty cool.

* DATA SMART POLICING/CYBERWATCH. In a story we aired Monday, we showed how the Shelby County Sheriff's Office uses the free online resource CyberWatch and data smart policing techniques to chart crimes in Northaven's Goodman Park and its surrounding neighborhoods. Shelby Farms Park and the Memphis Police Department use the same approach.

"We have recently captured the latitude and longitude for each mile marker on the Shelby Farms Greenline," said Memphis Police Public Information Officer Louis Brownlee. "We are about to put out an information bulletin to the officers telling them to use the nearest mile marker for a street address when an incident occurs on the Greenline. When filling out an incident report, the officer will use the mile marker for the street number and Shelby Farms Greenline for the street name. This will allow us to more accurately track incidents on the Greenline."

* SKYCOPS/TELECONFERENCING PATROLS. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness and the Memphis Police Department employ 25 portable and permanent SkyCop trailer cameras, They cost $50,000 each, funded primarily by federal homeland security grants. Some provide permanent, 24-hour video surveillance along the Greenline or Shelby Farms dog park. Others can be delivered to any park or attraction in the county to deter auto burglaries, kidnappings, vandalism or other crimes.

"They'll pick up (license) tag numbers (and) get full descriptions of individuals," said Shelby Farms Park Operations Manager Larry Pickens.

All of the agencies can share their Skycops footage live -- in real time -- with the Shelby County Office of Preparedness/Emergency Management Agency. Its staff inside the agency's operations center on Mullins Station Rd. watch the footage on big-screen televisions and projector screens. 

Dale Lane, the agency's director, said it can also dispatch undercover crews with laptop teleconferencing software. He demonstrated how they can use the laptop's web cams to beam back live footage from events like the Memphis Stars & Stripes 5K on July 3.

"They can reduce crime at a location 40-50 percent," Lane claimed. "We can watch here from the emergency operations watch center exactly what's going on. The whole purpose of those is to deter (crime) and to remind people to stay vigilant."

* ECO-COUNTERS. Eco-counters automatically count and track every person or animal on the park grounds. From portable ones strategically placed at the dog park to diamond-shaped ones embedded inside the Greenline surface, the eco-counters can tell the difference between a walker, a jogger, a cyclist or a dog -- and which direction they're going.

"If I see people are using my property or coming in late at night when they shouldn't be, then we'll put the sheriff on it," Pickens said.

High-tech, hands-on security -- designed to give all of us an edge on personal safety in our parks.

Copyright WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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