Security camera owners can now signup to help the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department solve crimes more quickly by joining the Video Identification Program (VIP).
Homes and businesses often have security cameras collecting information that investigators need. Current investigations include a door-to-door canvassing program where officers ask the home or business owner if they saw or heard anything suspicious, and if they have security cameras that might have helpful footage. Becoming a VIP means that once a crime or public safety incident has occurred, a deputy can check the database for nearby cameras and begin those canvassing operations at locations more likely to have hard evidence – which will speed up the entire process and close cases more quickly.
Deputy David Morriss said he “was the very first person to sign up for it”, while on the phone with our reporter. Morriss stated, “It won’t change the way we do our investigation, but it will speed up the way we find potential cameras. You’re not giving us the rights to your video footage. You’re just telling us you have a camera.”
Security cameras played a key part in solving the Starbuck murder several years ago, according to Deputy Morriss. The homicide investigators went door to door, and asked homeowners if they saw anything, heard anything, or had any cameras. Several did. At least one allowed their footage to be used, and Deputy Morriss declared that “their footage debunked the suspect’s story”, and helped close the case.
In a press release, the Sheriff’s office said they “will continue to go door to door and make contact to ensure we have all the evidence possible, but with the VIP Program, we would know where video might be within minutes instead of hours. To sign up, go to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office website and click on the VIP icon, enter your information and voilà, you’re a VIP.”