City of Rochester to invest $300K toward public safety

Blue Light Cameras

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – City Council recently approved a $300,000 grant for the Rochester Police Department to upgrade its blue light cameras.

The grant is called the FY23 Technology and Equipment Program Grant and it will be used to upgrade a portion of the department’s 160 blue light cameras across the city.

The Rochester Police Department started using the blue light cameras 15 years ago for a variety of things.

“Number one, they’d be able to identify if we have a victim at the scene and what sort of shape that victim is in, in terms of getting appropriate resources there. Then number two is looking for suspects. As part of that, it’s getting a suspect description, getting a vehicle description. Often times some of these shootings are caught on camera and we’re able to identify the shooters by using our camera technology as well,” Rochester Police Department Captain Greg Bello said.

And with the $300,000 grant, RPD will be upgrading and replacing around 30 cameras from an old analog system to a new digital system.

This will make the footage clearer, making it easier for RPD to gather details about a scene before officers arrive.

“And it’s just one more tool that we use as part of our investigations, and it’s a great tool that we’re able to use all the time. As you can see, we staff two full time, at least two people at a time down here, our cameramen that are constantly monitoring the cameras and constantly altering the radio to tie in radio traffic to those cameras,”

The department has two people in the camera room at a time- one watching cameras on the west side radio channels and one watching the east side radio channels.

“When calls come in, or ShotSpotter activates, or things along those lines, they’re able to start looking at what’s going on in that neighborhood or what’s going on with that high priority call before the officers even get there. Start developing if we have a victim or if somebody is injured at that location and then also developing suspect information, things along those lines to get the kind of eye in the sky to help give intel, that information to our responding officers,” Bello said.

The Rochester Police Department says that these cameras are always on and archive the footage for 6 months, which has helped them in various cases over the years.