TOMS RIVER By Police Spokesman Ralph Stocco
The Toms River Police Department is initiating a new program called Operation Watchdog. This program encourages residents and businesses to register their video surveillance systems. During a criminal investigation our officers routinely go door to door to locate homeowners with surveillance systems who may have captured footage of value to the investigation, even if they are not victims themselves. According to Chief Mitchell Little, this partnership will enable citizens to directly contribute to the detection and apprehension of criminals operating in their neighborhood and that this program does not give police the ability to tap into any home or business surveillance feeds.
There are several benefits to registering with Operation Watch Dog. It expedites the retrieval of footage from surveillance systems close to the crime scene. It also reduces the number of officers assigned to canvass the area around a crime scene for operational surveillance systems. This allows officers assigned to the investigation to be deployed to other tasks thereby enabling a higher degree of efficiency of allocated resources. Program coordinator Detective Mark Bajada adds that many residents are not aware their video could help the police with an investigation. Operation Watch Dog is a great tool that offers residents and businesses a program to partner with us in the fight against crime.
If you are signed up for Operation Watch Dog and a crime occurs in your neighborhood you may be contacted by a Toms River Police Officer who would ask if you could examine the time frame in question for potential video footage. If your equipment was able to record pertinent information, we would arrange a convenient time and day to retrieve the footage from you. Your participation in Operation Watch Dog always remains 100% voluntary and your personal information will be kept confidential and not for public dissemination. Only law enforcement personnel can view the surveillance footage.
If you would like to participate in this program you are encouraged to register your cameras at no cost by going to the police department’s website and choosing the Operation Watchdog link. http://www.trpolice.org/