The latest tool given to the Waxahachie Police Department offers officers a bird's eye view of the city.
Two new surveillance trailers allow police to monitor an area through an Internet connection.
The department obtained the two trailers through a $50,000 Justice Assistance grant offered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Through this program, local governments and non-profit entities receive assistance in the development of projects and programs designed to address crime-related community problems.
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby stated the need for the trailers came about after borrowing similar equipment from neighboring agencies during the holiday season. The platform provides a unique capability to survey a large crowd.
“Anytime we have a specific problem in the area we can put those out. They are great for parking lots where you have a high density of people to kind of make your presence known,” Goolsby said. “The average person won’t notice it but the person who is looking to commit crimes will. So it is a good deterrent for them and a good tool for us to see what is going on.”
Goolsby explained the equipment is used for events such as the Texas Country Reporter Festival, which brings around 25,000 people to the city. From the tower, officers can survey the crowd without being intrusive.
The trailer measures about five feet in length. It has a metal box that contains the camera's electronics, a battery, and a solar panel. The camera is mounted on top of a telescopic pole that can be raised or lower by officers.
To watch the video feed, officers only need an internet connection. They can log in camera system at the department or from a patrol vehicle. Officers can respond if they see a criminal offense-taking place to the location.
The video feed is recorded and can be downloaded to review later, as well.
The grant was awarded during the first part of the year. Officers have gone through training to operate the surveillance trailers. Now with training completed they are being used in locations around the city.
Goolsby stated he feels that these surveillance trailers will prevent crimes from happing and keep the public safe in the process.
“We have seen that it had worked pretty effectively during the holiday season when our crimes spike," Goolsby said. "We wanted to continue that without having to borrow equipment from another agency."