Portable camera system set up at TPC |

Ensuring safety and security is no small feat for a venue as open as TPC Scottsdale for the WM Phoenix Open, especially as tens of thousands of people descend on North Scottsdale.

One of the most important tools law enforcement has is a portable camera system.

The dozens of cameras and screens are funded by federal dollars. So while the Phoenix Police Department installs and destroys them, they are used throughout the Valley.

“(These are) 1080p high-definition cameras that have pan/tilt/zoom capability,” says Commander Bill Lee, who is with the Phoenix Police Department’s Office of Homeland Defense.

“We use (this system) as a force multiplier in the absence of a single uniformed officer that we can put in each location.

It allows us to view the signals from a distance and see what’s going on,” says Commander Lee.

Commander Lee says this system is self-sufficient and can broadcast to a mobile command center, expanding law enforcement’s footprint many times over.

He says the members of the threat mitigation team are actually electrical engineers. They create a complete network system from scratch.

“Depending on the geography we’re dealing with and the type of environment we’re working in, we have the option of creating our own wireless mesh network; we have the option of being able to use cellular service to be able to get a signal to transmit information,” says Commander Lee.

The WM Phoenix Open is just one of many big events where this camera system is deployed. Phoenix police will also set it up at Avondale in March for the Nascar event. It will be used for Pat’s Run, parades and the Super Bowl next year.

In addition to searching for troublemakers, police can also use the cameras to spot bottlenecks and help move vehicular and pedestrian traffic more efficiently.

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