Overland Park Police Dept. has expanded access to security cameras

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Security cameras are just about everywhere, whether you know it or not. They helped to identify the Boston Marathon bombings suspects, and in the Kansas City area, police are getting more camera access all the time.

Overland Park police already have around 100 intersections monitored with cameras, but through the click of a mouse they can see through the lenses of hundreds of others throughout the city.

The police department has arrangements to gain quick access to at least 400 cameras in shopping centers, businesses and workplaces.

"Any of those venues where there's large public gatherings that have installed that type of technology," Capt. Tim Lynch said. "Generally speaking, we have access to utilize it as needed."

Lynch said police access is activated only when the situation warrants. Similar agreements have taken place in other parts of the metro.

Last July, Kansas City police told 41 Action News about its access to hundreds of cameras around the city during the All Star Game festivities. It was the same concept, to keep an eye on hot spots like the Country Club Plaza, Power and Light District and Kauffman Stadium.

Police were on the lookout for potential security threats or to help identify suspects like the cameras in Boston.

Lynch said camera access also gives police a first look at an active scene.

"It's a tremendous boost to officer safety. Because so many times we have to go in, not knowing what we're going to encounter," Lynch said.

The Overland Park Police Department is always looking to expand its camera access. Lynch said the department's technology team consults with businesses before they install camera systems to make sure they are compatible with the police department.

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