Police seeking community help with camera registry


Johnston Police Chief Richard Tamburini wants to bring the words on his department’s squad cars to life.

“Working together, making a difference,” he said. “[Members of the community are] our eyes and ears out there.”

It’s a significant factor in the creation of the department’s Camera Registry Program, or CRP, which would allow residents and businesses to register their security cameras and systems with police. The department would contact members of the registry if a crime occurred in their area, allowing them to check for a getaway car or person of interest involved in a case that could have been captured.

Tamburini said the initiative is about building trust with the community, and the footage would be kept confidential.

“I really want to focus on that [trust], because as chief of police it’s important to me that no matter what we do with the community, [we need] a strong relationship and a level of trust,” Tamburini said during a Monday phone interview. “I think that carries through to the rest of the department, so they can be assured of that.”

Tamburini credited Maj. Matt LeDuc, who is in charge of the patrol division, with coming forward to start the program. Other communities have similar registries, and he said he thought it was a great idea. He also said the department went to Mayor Joseph Polisena, who gave his blessing to the program.

A press release regarding the program emphasizes that registration is entirely voluntary and free. There is no direct access to registrants’ cameras, and police will ask if they can use footage beforehand.

“Any individuals’ personal information will be kept confidential by the town unless subject to disclosure by court order,” the press release reads. “Your information will be accessed by law enforcement personnel who are investigating a crime in the vicinity of where your camera is located.”

Tamburini noted that the program is in its infancy, and the department only recently drafted its policy. He said he hopes that residents “get as excited about this as we are.” The press release adds that the aim of the initiative is “to deter crime and promote public safety through working together with the community at large.”

“It’s all about trust,” Tamburini said. “We have been assured many times that the community trusts the Johnston Police, and this is a matter of trust because when we say the video will be kept confidential, we absolutely mean that, and nobody will be exposed from offering up any video of whatever situation were trying to recover.”

A link with a description of the program and the terms of use can be found on the top banner of the department’s website, johnstonpd.com. Potential registrants will find an extensive form to fill out, including whether cameras are interior or exterior, where the camera is located and whether it is high definition, standard definition or infrared.

The terms of use does issue a reminder that, despite the teamwork between the public and police department, those in the program should not construe that they are acting as an agent and/or employee of the town of Johnston and/or the Johnston Police Department.

Tamburini urged residents to become involved so that the words on the cruisers can continue to ring true, and to show they can work together and make a difference.

“It’s kind of simple,” Tamburini said. “We’re just asking the community to assist the police. We have some strong relationships with the community. Were always looking to build bridges between the community and police. We want to get the message out there and its just another initiative to keep our community safe.”


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