The East Greenwich Township Police Department serves to protect people and places across three cities in Gloucester County, NJ. Through positive and transparent community partnerships, community members play an active role in their public safety environment.
As the Chief of Police for the past four years, Matthew Brenner and his team are committed to providing the very best in public safety services and community engagement. They partner with neighboring townships and counties to protect an extensive network of state and county highways, transportation services, residential communities, schools, and places of worship.
“I've been with the agency in law enforcement for almost 23 years and Chief of Police for four years. Having the right systems and technology in place helps our department adapt to the changing needs of the community, and stay relevant in the evolving landscape of law enforcement.”
The legacy security system was antiquated and unusable. Chief Brenner notes, "We had a direct server in the building, and quite frankly, nobody knew how to use it. It provided no real effective benefit to us.” A critical overhaul was needed to drive product adoption and operational efficiency. To the credit of the Township’s governing body, they too understood the need for an updated real-time technological overhaul, and supported the Chief and Department’s investment in doing just that for this community.
One of the Chief’s goals was to monitor and manage the significant east-west corridor travel through the area – including activity along a major truck stop and travel center – while ensuring that police resources are deployed in the most impactful manner. Chief Brenner explained, "We chose remote installation locations based on our traffic and population dynamics.”
Chief Brenner has collaborated closely with county authorities to modernize and scale physical safety systems across multiple cities within the township. Today, Verkada cameras – some powered by solar and cellular technology – are placed on light poles at major intersections, speeding up investigations and enhancing visibility in these strategic areas. “We’re excited to be the first police agency in our County to produce a memorandum of agreement with our County authorities, allowing us to place cameras and equipment onto their poles.”
Built with hybrid cloud architecture, Verkada products are easy to install, use, and manage at scale. The department finds value in the intuitive software interface and privacy features, as well as the versatility and operability of the PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras. "We conduct live investigations from a single vantage point with the PTZ, which overlooks county roads and major intersections with traffic coming from state highways. Our Verkada products work together seamlessly behind a collaborative platform, so incident resolution is fast and efficient.”
Across government buildings, access control and intercom solutions are natively integrated with cameras to add security and visibility to points of entry. Real-time monitoring from a mobile app, web browser, or dedicated viewing station helps the team prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Faster Investigations with PTZ
The PTZ cameras, tied with their broader video security system, enables officers and emergency responders to stay ahead and have ‘eyes on the ground’ before they arrive on site. “When an accident happens, I can zoom in to see the details from my desk and relay this information to our responding officers immediately. They can respond before the 911 call even comes in."
PTZ cameras also offer an expansive field of view and dynamic monitoring of large areas. In one case, the suspect was quickly apprehended thanks to the strategic use of these cameras. "Our detectives were able to turn the PTZ camera 180 degrees, zoom in, and keep eyes on a fleeing suspect, which led directly to the arrest," recounts Chief Brenner. This level of agility, allowing for real-time tracking and zoom capabilities, helped maintain visual contact with the suspect, even during pursuit.
Vehicle and People Analytics
Verkada Vehicle Analytics and License Plate Recognition (LPR) help identify and track stolen vehicles of interest. The ability to closely monitor vehicles in real time – including their make, model, and even license plate numbers – speeds up incident response. "During one incident at night, our PTZs captured extremely detailed vehicle information and valuable visual evidence in the suspect’s pursuit.” Investigations are further streamlined by Verkada LPR, which accurately recognizes license plates on vehicles traveling at high speeds of up to 80 mph. "We're starting to see a lot of automated license plate readers pop up, and I'm excited about future advancements with Verkada,"
For crimes committed in public areas, Person of Interest alerts can also inform officers of repeat offenders. “We've been able to address issues at our parks, like property damage, by narrowing down suspects using People Analytics.” While leveraging proactive security tools, the Department also preserves individual privacy with features such as face blur, live-only viewing, role-based access, and custom permission settings.
Real-Time Streaming Back to the Station
The Department has six Viewing Stations in the patrol room streaming live camera feeds. “Our officers can look up at one wall and see all cameras across multiple cities streaming at once, in live motion. And, the officers have done a fantastic job adopting this technology in stride, and utilizing our cameras fully to the benefit of the residents we serve.”
This setup allows officers, whether in briefing sessions, writing reports, or taking breaks, to continuously monitor the township's key locations. Officers can observe ongoing events at intersections, monitor who is at the building's front door, and more effectively extend their presence across the 15 square miles of the township. "We have a cloak of protection across the township, and it's been a home run for us in that aspect."
Strengthened Emergency Response for Schools
Immediate and accurate intelligence is vital in emergencies. Verkada provides first responders with visual context and actionable insights. They can better understand what resources to bring, where to enter, and the safest tactical routes. "Officers at the station can watch a scene unfold remotely, and relay that information to responding officers."
Intelligence gathered through cameras support emergency preparedness and reduce the risks associated with entering situations without adequate upfront information. “The reality is that in our world, we need to be prepared for every possible scenario, including ones involving active violent situations. Seeing what we’re confronting before we arrive is critical, and having the right technology allows us to better protect our community.”
Integrated Solutions Managed from One Platform
The department deploys Verkada access control and intercom products in tandem with existing cameras. Officers can open doors through their phones using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) at a custom range, or unlock doors remotely through the Verkada Pass App. "Our Verkada products work together seamlessly, improving security both in and out of the building."
Door-based solutions extend their security beyond monitoring; it now includes control and communications over sensitive areas such as cell blocks and holding cell areas. "From our patrol room, officers can now monitor what's happening in our holding cells in real-time, communicate via intercom, and respond more effectively. This level of integration, where every part of our system works in harmony, improves day-to-day operations in our police department."
Reliable, Objective Video Evidence
"If somebody gives a skewed version of events, we now may have real-time footage on our phones or in the video that shows exactly what happened at a given scene. It's a huge tool for us to potentially discern who's at fault, who's not, identifiers, or if someone were to flee a scene."
Incident management tools make it easy for investigators to consolidate, review, and safekeep their digital evidence in a single shareable repository. Teams across departments can collaborate on investigations, simplify incident reporting, and share archived footage through a simple link.Cameras have also been used to track missing items – such as a large folding knife and fleet vehicle keys – in government buildings. "We have cameras overseeing our municipal courts, cell blocks, and holding areas. It's incredibly easy to archive these videos and send them digitally, whether it's through email or text.”
Flexible Remote Deployments
"We have utilized a mobile trailer equipped with batteries and solar panels [provided by Gridless], along with a retractable pole for mounting a Verkada dome camera. This can add temporary video security to any location, anytime, which is perfect for monitoring community events or hotspots."
Plug-and-play cameras are easy to install and move across the county, requiring no NVRs, DVRs, or external servers. The footage is stored locally onboard the camera itself for up to 365 days, with unlimited cloud archiving and optional cloud backup. "What we're looking at next is expanding our mobile unit capabilities, perhaps adding a Multisensor camera for a full 360-degree view. The goal is to enhance our ability to respond swiftly and effectively to any situation that arises in our community."
Teams also have granular control over camera settings to better address the specific needs in the community. "We've set up our cameras to adjust their focus during different times of the day. In the mornings, cameras face southbound traffic during school rush hours. This helps us in identifying and addressing specific traffic issues, such as reports of vehicles illegally passing school buses.”
Collaboration Across Departments and Counties
Chief Brenner, who is also an active member of various county committees and the current 2024 president of the Gloucester County Police Chiefs Association, emphasizes the collaborative nature of their operations. "A lot of what I do involves collaboration with other departments and Chiefs. We're an average-sized department, but this technology has broadened our reach to help other departments, counties, and government entities. We’ve had other chiefs in the county adopt Verkada systems for their benefits."
This widespread adoption across different departments supports a unified approach to public safety and effective law enforcement across county lines."It's about using technology not just for its own sake but to do our job safely, tactically, and efficiently, to protect the community from afar. The more agencies that join us in using this technology, the more effective we can be across our borders." Under Chief Brenner, the East Greenwich Township Police Department remains committed to leveraging technology for the greater good, enhancing community partnerships and public safety across the region.
Looking Ahead: Enhancing Safety Beyond the Township
The department's successful implementation of Verkada sets a new standard for public safety and law enforcement efficiency. By exploring new product lines, such as integrated alarms and air quality sensors, Chief Brenner aims to extend Verkada's application to include remote monitoring of public works and utilities.
Regarding the PTZ cameras, he is excited to see what new advancements become available through automatic software and firmware updates. "We like the ability to set an auto schedule for the camera to face specific areas at certain times – like a convenience store prone to burglaries – then return to its home position. This level of customization is something we're looking to expand.”
Chief Brenner’s focus on scalable security practices and cross-county collaboration reflects a modern, forward-thinking approach to community safety. "As we adopt new technologies, we create a unified platform for safer, more efficient operations across South Jersey.”
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