Scanning the city's inscrutable bids website this morning in the hopes of finding that not-there-yet Dallas Farmers Market RFP, I came across this instead: a 102-page request for proposals from the Dallas Police Department, which is looking to significantly step up its arsenal of video surveillance cameras. As in: Just six years ago, reminds the doc, there were 34 cams installed downtown thanks to a Meadows Foundation grant. That number's jumped to 'round 115 in recent years, with permanently installed video cams perched in Jubilee Park, Uptown and the Arts District (when they're working). And don't forget the State Fair of Texas.
The DPD's long insisted those virtual eyeballs reduce crime; others are far less certain. But now, says the bid doc you'll find below, the DPD wants to gets its hands -- and eyes -- on hundreds more. Specifically:
Due to the deterrent and evidentiary effectiveness of the surveillance cameras, the Dallas Police Department ("DPD") is seeking to implement approximately 300 surveillance cameras located throughout 27 areas in the City, specifically in high crime areas, transmitting wireless video feeds 24 hrs a day/365 days a year. This system shall have a mix of cameras installed as semi-permanent installations at fixed locations as well as cameras that have the ability to be moved quickly to various locations, as dictated by criminal activity or any other surveillance efforts.
The city wants to be able to move some of those cams wherever it needs "without any geographic/network constraints." Meaning: While DPD says those cams will be spread out within the 27 so-called Target Area Action Grids currently ID'd as high-crime hot spots, the request for bids also says the prospective winner will need to ensure there's a "streamlined process for relocation of cameras, as dictated by DPD's surveillance needs." Because one day you''re a hot spot, and the next day, could be, you're just not.
The department also wants to be able to stream every one of those feeds wherever it wants (City Hall, DPD HQ, squad cars) in real time, or close to, 24-7. And not all of them will be visible; the bid docs say the surveillance cams would be both "overt" and "covert." Proposals are due March 28, with vendor presentations scheduled for April. The whole what-for's below.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.