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What impact does home security cameras have on policing?

Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 22:21:53-05

CAPE CORAL, FLA — FGCU Professor and former police officer David Thomas says the shock of what happened in Sunrise, Florida Tuesday, is one many law enforcement officers know all too well.

"I lost a couple of friends that way in an ambush," he said, "That still aches today even though we're talking almost 35 years."

He's referring to a shootout involving at least five Miami-based FBI agents, who were executing a warrant involving child pornography.

Two of those agents, Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, died from their injuries.

"Based on what I've been able to read, they were picked up by the ring doorbell, so not only were they knocking on the door they suspect can actually see who is at the door," saud Thomas.

As home surveillance cameras become more popular, Thomas says policing gets even trickier.

"Suspects always have the tactical advantage," he said.

So how do you make policing safer?

Thomas says in a situation like Tuesday's shooting there are "distraction techniques" that can be used, especially by tactical teams.

"They would break a window in another part of the apartment, so it forces the attention to go to what's happening. And break the window and maybe throw a flash-bang in to get the big bang before they go in," he said.

Thomas adds that there's also a possibility that law enforcement agencies will eventually develop new technology for operations that involve home security cameras.

"If we can shut down cellphones then we can shut down the signals to cameras," he said.

Details of what happened Tuesday are still limited.

But Thomas says the FBI will be doing a thorough "after-action" investigation.

"In the past what I've seen them do when they've had a tragedy like this, they have created like a training video. That goes out to all law enforcement," he said, "It doesn't necessarily mean that someone made mistakes, it just means that there probably is a better way to do some things."

According to the FBI, as far as the three surviving agents are concerned, only two of them had to be taken to the hospital. At last check they were in stable condition.