(Excerpt) In the name of security, the Ventura Police Department has access to practically every camera on public property in Ventura and is hoping for those numbers to grow, eventually incorporating privately owned devices.
In 2010, the department received a grant from the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, in the amount of $150,000. Of that, the department used $73,000 to purchase software from VidSys, a developer based in Virginia. That software was the Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) system, which allows the department to control live feeds from cameras across the city, including those located within area high schools.
A total of $148,333 of the grant was spent on the system including servers, equipment and wireless devices, according to department Business Services Officer Roger Wang.
Ventura police have been busy securing these networks. In fact, Ventura has become the frontrunner of domestic surveillance in the state and is the first city in California to gain access to cameras located within area high schools. (Los Angeles has a similar program, but the school district has its own distinct police force.)
…“It sounds like something out of a bad sci-fi movie,” said Dana McLorn, media relations coordinator for the Ventura Libertarian Party. “We wouldn’t be opposed to having private entities having surveillance on their own property, but having it on public property and networking them to a central location is somewhat disturbing.”