PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Police officials from across Bay County came together today to discuss the results they’ve seen from the Bay Real Time Operations Center (BAYROC) after only one year.
BAYROC was implemented in November of 2021.
The program is designed to use pre-existing surveillance cameras from around the county to help officials respond to incidents.
“Most of these cameras are already publicly available,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “The traffic cameras that we have access to, every citizen has access to those cameras through the Bay County website.”
In the past year, the program has aided in finding six missing people, 32 wanted people, 26 stolen vehicles, and seven hit-and-run suspects.
“Probably one of our biggest successes was in March of 2022, the spring break time frame, the spring break take over where we used BAYROC resources for really the first time on a large scale incident like this,” Ford said.
In the event of an incident at a school, police are able to access all the cameras on the property, giving them a bird’s-eye view of the situation, and in-turn helping them determine the necessary actions to keep students safe.
“As long as the information is being put out, we can turn around and say, hey, the person was moved from the breezeway between one school area,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office Inspector Jon Morris said. “[They] moved from the office to here.”
Cameras are also equipped with license plate readers.
“If this was a stolen vehicle, we had verified that this was the tag through our N.C.I.C.( National Criminal Information Center), to make sure that it was the correct vehicle and what we would do at this moment verifying through the picture, it’s the same vehicle,” Morris said. “We’ll push this live picture out to the guys in the field.”
Residences can assist police by registering their home surveillance camera with the BAYROC.
“We don’t have access to their camera systems, but we are able to communicate with them. Say a crime occurred in your neighborhood it provides a very efficient way for them to then send that camera data to us,” Morris said.
Officials said they will continue to grow the BAYROC network over the coming years.