Smile…you’re on ‘Community Camera’

Published 5:38 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

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WINDSOR – Newly elected Bertie County Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin is introducing a program that he hopes will promote a more healthy relationship between citizens and local law enforcement while also deterring criminal activity across the county.

The Community Camera Program would allow Bertie residents and business owners to register their video surveillance system with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office. Ruffin said these systems include but are not limited to Blink©, Ring©, Wyze©, Arlo© and other types of home/business surveillance systems.

“This would allow our Criminal Investigations Division to make contact with a citizen or a business owner to view and/or obtain a copy of the video if needed for the purpose of a criminal investigation,” Ruffin said.

He noted there is no cost to the citizen or business to be a part of this program. An application form needs to be filled out to participate in this program. The citizen or business owner can withdraw from the Community Camera Program at any time.

Ruffin said the Community Camera Program would allow law enforcement to quickly identify cameras in the vicinity of a criminal incident.

“This would help develop leads and or evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation,” the Sheriff stated. “This would help expedite the investigation, which could lead to quicker identification of a suspect or suspects as well as a suspect vehicle. That in turn could lead to a faster arrest.”

He stressed that being enrolled in the program does not give law enforcement officers direct access to the video, rather a log of who has cameras in a certain area.

“This program is voluntary and by being a part of it, it does not allow us to view the citizens footage without their permission,” Ruffin said.

An example of how the program works would be if a crime occurred at a location, investigators can determine that a business or resident has a camera in the vicinity of the crime.

“If through facts gathered in the investigation it is believed the footage would be of importance, an investigator would then contact the citizen or business at the provided contact number to request to view the footage,” Ruffin stated. “The business or citizen can then determine if they want us to view it. We would then view the footage and copy any pertinent footage to be added to the investigation.”

To sign up for this program or to learn more, contact the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at 252-794-5330.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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