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Lehigh County Law Enforcement Officials Launch Security Camera Registration Platform | WDIY Local News


Law enforcement officials in Lehigh County have announced the launch of a new consolidated camera platform, which they say will aid public safety.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin, the Lehigh County Chiefs of Police Association, and the Lehigh County Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center announced the launch of the countywide crime center platform, called Connect Lehigh County, on Tuesday.

According to a release, the system runs on the FUSUS platform, a cloud-hosted system used by over 200 cities and counties across the country.

The platform includes a Public Security Camera Registry, an online portal where citizens can register their security cameras to help solve neighborhood crimes, speed up investigations, and keep residents and businesses safer.

Martin’s office said searching for private cameras after a crime is reported is a time-consuming process for officers.

However, the voluntary registration process would help investigators know quickly if video evidence may be available at a particular location, and who to contact to retrieve it.

“This new platform will enable us to operate more efficiently to create a safer county for our residents. I strongly urge all the security camera owners in Lehigh County to participate in this new program,” Martin said in the release.

“I urge the citizens of Lehigh County to take part in creating this community-wide network by registering your cameras.”

The release said registrant information and any video files provided will be kept confidential and used only in the event of a criminal investigation.

It also said camera registration does not give live video access to law enforcement, and only provides location information for the camera for use when a crime occurs. Investigators will only contact camera owners if they need help collecting footage.

Registration can be done through the Connect Lehigh County website. As of Wednesday, the site recorded 34 registered cameras and 196 integrated cameras.

Residents and businesses may also share live video feeds with police departments during emergencies to improve safety and police responses. They can do so by installing a small device on their network.

The live video can only be shared on alert using a smartphone app or a manual trigger button at the camera owner’s discretion, to preserve privacy.

In August, Bethlehem City Council unanimously approved a resolution to allow the Bethlehem Police Department to join the FUSUS video-sharing initiative.

According to council meeting minutes, BPD police chief Michelle Kott provided a memorandum recommending that the department participate in FUSUS.

Deputy Chief Scott Meixell said Northampton County does not yet offer the FUSUS program, and he noted that Bethlehem partially lies in Lehigh County. Under the program all of Bethlehem’s cameras – including those in Northampton County – would be shared.

Meixell also said 17 other Lehigh County police agencies and the Pennsylvania State Police have signed onto the project so far.

(Original air-date: 9/13/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky is WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director.