911eye gives Bergen, Passaic cops streaming video in emergencies

911eye gives Bergen, Passaic cops streaming video in emergencies

You’re toiling away in your office one morning when you hear a noise explode down the hallway.

Crack, crack, crack.

Sounds like gunshots. People sprint by your door, but they are gone by the time you get up, and you hear the noise again, deafeningly close. Crack. Crack.

You lock the door, kill the lights. You grab your phone to call 911, but stop short. Shouldn’t you stay quiet if you think a shooter is near? Isn’t that what you’ve been taught?

No worries. Thanks to technological advances over the last decade, you can text the emergency number and elicit the same police response you’d get from a phone call — all while remaining completely silent.

In an especially dire situation — such as gunmen in the halls — emergency dispatchers in Bergen and Passaic counties can text a link to the caller, who by tapping on it gives authorities permission to see a streaming video recorded by their cell camera.

“They can watch in real time what’s happening,” said Officer Jonathan Klos, commander of the Passaic County sheriff’s communications division. “And the officers can prepare themselves, which makes everyone a little bit safer — now they know what they’re walking into.” 

Keith Essert, supervisor at Bergen County Communications,  explains how some of the technology works when a caller contacts 911 headquarters in Mahwah.

Years ago, these capabilities would only have lived in the mind of a science-fiction writer. But telecommunications have taken leaps forward, turning novel ideas into concrete applications that New Jersey law enforcement use daily to equip officers with as much information as possible before they respond to an emergency.

About the technology

The cellphone video streaming technology, named 911eye, is the most striking. Originally developed in the United Kingdom by Capita, a digital services business that helps first responders, the program allows authorities to reconnoiter a given area through the caller’s phone camera. 



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