Sumner County residents can help authorities fight crime through personal surveillance cameras

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Seven Sumner County law enforcement agencies have rolled out a new crime fighting tool funded by a state grant that will help keep residents safer through real-time video and data from surveillance cameras.

The technology, called Fusus, lets residents and businesses integrate their personal surveillance cameras, giving law enforcement access to their video in real time during a crime. Fusus requires the camera owner’s permission and a connection tool, called a core device, before officers can view the video.

Cmdr. Scott Ryan with the Hendersonville Police Department has been leading six other law enforcement agencies in the effort — Goodlettsville, Millersville, Gallatin, Portland, Westmoreland, and the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office — since the rollout in August. Officials used part of a more than $630,000 state Violent Crime Intervention Fund grant to purchase the technology and a two-year contract. They have called the collaborative program “Connect Sumner.”

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“We take crime seriously in Sumner County, and we want people to see it’s a united front,” Ryan said. “We work together, we communicate, and we’re going to be as effective as we can to keep the citizens of Sumner County safe.”

Ryan said video evidence has been one of the most beneficial tools in solving criminal cases over the years, and Fusus helps officers build a network of cameras they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Citizens can also elect to put their cameras on a registry through Fusus, which does not give officers access to their video, but instead lets law enforcement know they can contact the camera owner in case a crime happens in their area.

Ryan told News 2 the feature helps save time during criminal investigations where video evidence may have been recorded. Instead of going door-to-door just for video evidence, officers can ask for it with a push of a button.

“The ability to cover a large area with this program knowing where those cameras are and our ability to one touch send a message out requesting them to check cameras and upload video if they have something that’s relevant to that crime, we can do the work of 20 people with one email, and that’s amazing,” Ryan said.

The Fusus technology also includes a real-time crime center which agencies hope to eventually put in every police vehicle in Sumner County, creating a more effective, efficient, and safer response to violent crimes, according to Ryan.

Fusus may be new to those involved in Connect Sumner, but the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) has been using the technology for more than a year.

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On Tuesday, the MNPD asked Metro Council for $250,000 to extend its Fusus program another year. However, officials decided to delay the vote until February because they still had questions about how the technology works.

However, in Sumner County, the technology has been widely accepted so far, according to Ryan, who added it’s important to be transparent with the public about how Fusus works.

“It’s very important that they know the ins and outs of any program that we’re implementing so they fully understand what we’re trying to do and what their role could be in that,” Ryan said.

Those who live in Sumner County are encouraged to register and integrate their surveillance cameras. To get started, click here.

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