The Metropolitan Police Department’s current CCTV network can link with selected other public agency video networks, following strict protocols and procedures. For example, the Department can access video feeds from the traffic cameras operated by the District Department of Transportation, and is working to access similar cameras maintained by transportation agencies in Virginia and Maryland (many of which are already accessible via the Internet). This real-time, regional traffic information can provide essential traffic management and safety support during major events or evacuations.
The MPDC has successfully tested a link with the CCTV network currently operated by the DC Public Schools (DCPS). Should a major crime or public safety emergency occur inside a school, the link would be activated, providing police with real-time information to support a rapid, effective and safe response. Similar links are being established to the upgraded CCTV network inside the Metrorail transit system.
Strict protocols and safeguards have been established for all MPDC linkages with other publicly operated CCTV systems. Access to these outside systems is controlled by the agency that operates the cameras, not by the MPDC. For example, only DCPS officials can grant the police access to the schools’ CCTV network, following clearly established protocols. The MPDC cannot access any of these outside networks without the prior permission of the controlling agency. Regardless of the origin of the video feed, the MPDC use of that feed will be governed by existing DC regulations and internal MPDC policies.
The MPDC does not link with any privately operated camera networks, nor does the CCTV system have the capacity to access the Department’s photo enforcement (red-light and photo radar) cameras, which use 35-mm film.