PARTNERSHIPS FOR SAFER COMMUNITIES
MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste
Mayor Sandy Stimpson
All communities are safer with a partnership. In times of crime or terrorist threats, the goal of the Cyber-Intelligence Unit of the Mobile Police Department is to keep public gathering places—where you work, attend school, shop, go for entertainment—safe.
About Project Shield
Mobile officials unveiled a new public safety initiative which authorities say will strengthen police response to active situations at schools and businesses. Project Shield is a public-private partnership that allows the Mobile Police Department Cyber-Intelligence Unit access to over 2,000 live security camera feeds in real time from the Mobile County School System, the Alabama Department of Transportation, Bel Air Mall and its own downtown camera network. The access is a result of a partnership between police and participating businesses and schools, officials said. "The main purpose of this is so that we can provide a protective umbrella throughout the city of Mobile and even throughout the region," said Police Chief James Barber. He described the network as a "force multiplier," providing police with access to intelligence they might otherwise have missed.
"One of the major advantages if we have an active situation at a large complex like the mall or a school is we're able to move in pretty quickly, isolate where the incident is, contain it, evacuate the rest of the area and deal with whatever problem it is that they may be having at that time," he said.
Public Safety Director Richard Landolt added that the system could act as a deterrent to future crimes. At the Joint Operations Center in MPD Headquarters, large flat screen televisions covered one wall. On some played live camera feeds from Davidson High School. Others showed blueprints and aerial views of the school. The set up was not unlike one which police might use if the school requested police during an evolving situation, such as after receiving reports of an armed person on campus. Barber said officers could be sent out while others monitored the camera feeds, communicating what they saw on the cameras by walkie-talkie.
"There's all kinds of information just ready at a moment's notice," Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. Officials said the cameras would not be monitored at all times. "We have absolutely thousands of cameras, we cannot monitor them all," Barber said. "If there's an event downtown, say Mardi Gras, we would be monitoring that. If we're notified of an active situation at one of the schools or at one of the retail establishments, we would be reaching out to those particular systems."
Authorities expect the operation, dubbed "Project Shield," to grow not just in terms of how many partnerships allow police to access surveillance systems but also in the ways those camera feeds could be shared with other agencies. As the system grows, officials plan to build in the ability to share live surveillance with other relevant law enforcement agencies and the Mayor's Office.
The system cost $280,000. It was funded through the Police Department's Capital Equipment Expenditure Fund. "The police department is not paying to put cameras into the neighborhood," Stimpson said. "So, even though we've spent $280,000 in this system here, we're tying into what was previously millions of dollars that have been spent on the school system and the malls and private businesses." Think of Project Shield as the city's safety net and It does not cost anything for businesses or other entities hoping to share information with police.
Join the Project Shield Video Intelligence Partnership (VIP)
Be part of a network that is building a safer community through partnerships. It is crime prevention at its best circled with an umbrella of safety. There is no cost to join. Simply allow the Cyber-Intelligence Unit access to your existing surveillance system. As a benefit for joining, you receive one-on-one training in identifying and reporting suspicious activity and quicker police response to combat crime. Most importantly, the Cyber-Intelligence Unit obtains an ongoing valuable relationship with you.
Request Situational Awareness and Terrorism-Prevention Training (SATT)
The Mobile Police Department applauds the observant citizen and believes everyone can play a part in the intelligence-gathering process to help protect the community.
The SATT training is designed to get citizens to first challenge themselves in being more observant in their surroundings. Attendees will learn the different categories of suspicious activity and what factors are used to identify suspicious or unusual behavior.
Community Action Groups
If you have the ambition to change your neighborhood, we have the resources to help you make it happen! Our Community Action Groups (CAGs) bring together local citizens with police sergeants trained in neighborhood problem-solving.
We're talking about real problems and real results. A measure of our success is our rapidly expanding membership –more than 75 CAGs are actively engaged in problem-solving with the police department. Crime mapping is available through the police department for any of our neighborhood groups. It delivers pinpoint accuracy to the task of locating and identifying incidents of crime within any defined geographical area.
To develop appropriate intervention strategies, the Mobile Police Department also provides compelling visual reports on neighborhood crime trends using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. If you would like more information on the program, or would like to start up a CAG in your neighborhood, please contact us at 251.208.1924.