The Winston-Salem Police Department has received a boost to its ability to fight crime. A new initiative unveiled on Tuesday connects video surveillance from local churches, businesses, and other organizations to the department’s Real Time Crime Center. The goal is to prevent crime as efforts to recruit and retain officers continue to be a challenge.

“Get Connected Winston-Salem” relies on the FususCORE camera system — a nationwide, secured cloud-based program currently used by the sheriff and police departments in their crime centers. It enables video feeds from across the city to be immediately shared when a potential crime occurs. The footage gives responding officers more intel on the scene prior to their arrival, and assistance in solving the crime after it’s taken place.

Greater Winston-Salem President Mark Owens acknowledges privacy concerns among the potential business owners and organization leaders being recruited for this initiative. He emphasizes that participation in the program is not mandatory. But he hopes the collective benefits of agreeing to share camera feeds with the police department will increase willingness to get on board.

"We do encourage our businesses and community centers and churches and religious organizations to consider it strongly because it’s a good way to participate in making our community safer," says Owens. "And we often hear, ‘What can we do to help,’ and this is a great way to help. We have a shortage of police officers, and this is adding eyes to help our officers have more information, deter criminals, and hopefully solve crimes faster and more efficiently."

To further encourage business participation, the Greater Winston-Salem board is granting money through the police foundation that covers software and set-up costs for a period of two years. Owens says the goal is to prove the program’s success during that time and find additional money through local and state government funding to alleviate the financial burden to businesses beyond 2025. Mayor Allen Joines says there are roughly 140 police vacancies out of a force of 570.




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