BALANCE SHEET BLOG – HOLLYWOOD, FL


Emergency Phones: 2008
August 21, 2008, 8:08 PM
Filed under: Corridors, Downtown

August 21, 2008

Hollywood’s Police Department is responding to crime with the installation of 30 emergency phones to be funded by CRA and Law Enforcement Forfeiture Funds. The first 10 phones are to be installed downtown, followed by 20 more along the US 1 corridor, between Sheridan Street and Pembroke Road. Later, the Police Department plans to place them also on the beach and in other city neighborhoods.

The new phones are described as follows by the Police Department:

“The Emergency phone will be used if you are in fear, need immediate assistance or if you witness an in-progress incident. The phone will not be used to receive information or to call a cab. Simply press the call button and you will talk directly to our Communications Center. The Emergency phone will also be equipped with a Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ Camera) so Police personnel can identify a suspect or suspects and provide valuable information to responding units. An additional camera will identify those who vandalize the equipment or make crank calls to the Police Department.”

“The phones will be on a free standing pedestal (approximately 8’3″) and will be easily identifiable with reflective paint in the Police Department’s black and white color scheme. A blue light will be affixed on top of the phone, making it clearly identifiable as a Police Department device at night.”

“The Emergency phone can also be used as a Public Address system for distances from 500-1000 feet. This application will be useful on the beach to notify persons of a missing child (Amber Alert) or an evacuation.”

Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner presented the new emergency phone plan at a meeting of the Royal Poinciana and Parkside Task Force on August 20. While there was some concern about vandalism, whether the phones would simply displace crime to other neighborhoods, whether their presence would stigmatize the neighborhood, etc., the Police Chief indicated that if we don’t try, we will never know. He said the phones have been successful on college campuses for many years, but if they do not perform as expected in Hollywood neighborhoods, then we’ll try something else. He is hopeful, however, that the phones will be a significant new tool for Hollywood law enforcement.

The Police Chief made clear that the cost of the phones will not burden the already over-strained Hollywood budget because all funding is to come from either the CRA or forfeiture funds that cannot be spent on operating costs. He also indicated that Hollywood is one of the first cities in the region to use emergency phones.

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