UPD SafeCam program helps deter crime, aid investigationsMar 10, 2021 11:50AM ● By Erin Dixon
Unified Police Precinct Chief Randy Thomas shows a sticker that residents and businesses can register for and display to show they are willing to cooperate with law enforcement and share camera footage. (Screenshot)
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
If you see a sticker that says “SafeCam Unified Police” then a camera is watching.
Residents and businesses register for the new SafeCam program through Unified Police Department (UPD). The program is simply a declaration that you are willing to search your own recorded footage for possible criminal activity. If there is an incident in your area, UPD will contact you and ask you to review your recording during a certain time period and pass on potential evidence.
UPD Lieutenant Ken Malone told City Journals that, “The purpose of the program is twofold. A crime deterrent…and it gives us investigative tools if a criminal event does occur in an area where somebody’s registered their camera.”
Registering a camera does not connect you to the police network or give UPD access to your camera. The resident or business continues to have full and private control. When you sign up, you simply declare you are willing to cooperate with UPD if they contact you for video footage.
Security cameras have been around for a long time but it has been difficult for UPD to find who has one and where.
“It was pretty labor intensive. If you didn't know the area you would have to look and see if anybody had a camera. It’s a collaborative effort between the community and police department and hopefully solves crimes and hopefully gets criminals off the street,” Malone said.
Many community members said they are in support of the program.
Midvale resident Jamie Mansfield said, “Well, considering how many times we’ve been graffitied, had stuff stolen off of our porch, had our car top sliced open, I would definitely be part of this.”
Resident Sophia Hawes-Tingey said, “It looks like the program is taking into consideration Fourth Amendment rights, and as long as they continue to do so, I am all for the vastly increased investigative power; that said, also as long as assumptions are not also made on an unconscious bias that automatically targets people who are suspect just because of who they are or they don't automatically ‘fit in.’”
“I believe that the current administration of the UPD is a good one, and certainly well-meaning and well-intentioned, reinforcing diversity training and de-escalation techniques,” Hawes-Tingey said.
For more information about the UPD SafeCam program, visit www.updsl.org/page_services_SafeCam.php.