Magazine article National Defense

New Northern Border Camera System to Avoid Past Pitfalls

Magazine article National Defense

New Northern Border Camera System to Avoid Past Pitfalls

Article excerpt

* DETROIT - The Border Patrol win be begin work this year to install a series of cameras north of Detroit with one motto in mind: keep it simple.

The agency official in charge of the program said the goal is to avoid the pitfalls of Project 28, a similar effort to place cameras on the southern border.

The Secure Border Initiative's Project 28 program finally came into operation this spring after years of delays. The goal was to set up a series of cameras and high-tech sensors along a 28-mile stretch of desert south of Tucson, AriiL, and have them transmit live, streaming video to agents in their vehicles.

The streaming video capability was never achieved as the agency could not find a means to transmit high-bandwidth video into vehicles in a remote location that lacked communications infrastructure.

Project 28 suffered several delays, cost overruns and management upheaval at both Customs and Border Protection and at lead contractor Boeing Co.

Greg Lambert, Border Patrol special operations supervisor and local project lead for the Northern Border Project said the series of 11 cameras that will be installed beginning this year on the St Clair River will not attempt to integrate radar capability or try to push the images into Border Patrol vehicles.

"In this deployment we're keeping it simple in the form of just day and night cameras on towers," he said. Boeing remains as the lead contractor for the northern border project

Unlike the southern border, there are few camera systems in place in the north to keep watch. There are a few cameras in the Buffalo, N.Y, area, which are being upgraded under the current project There are also some older cameras in the Washington State area but there are currently no plans to swap them with newer systems, Lambert said.

Each emplacement will have two day cameras and two night cameras - one set feeing up river and the other feeing down river.

Images will be sent to a local sector headquarters, where agents control the cameras. If an illegal entry is spotted, they will radio the location of the incident to officers in the field.

The cameras, built by L3-CE, will differ from cameras deployed along the southern border because of the extreme winter temperatures, he said. More robust pan-tilt-zoom motors are needed to break through winter ice.

"The cameras will be able to tell agents what's going on, and exactly where it's going on," he said. …

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