The City of Grover Beach’s Police Department (PD) has incorporated various smart technologies into its operations to effectively serve the City, reduce labor costs and provide better services to residents, businesses and visitors.
“Our primary goal when using this technology is to effectively respond to any incident that may arise, and the acquisition of this equipment and its deployment in our communities will enhance the public’s safety and welfare,” said Grover Beach Police Chief John Peters. “Our officers have completed the necessary training and obtained the required certifications to operate this equipment, and the technology is only deployed for specific situations, including critical incidents, crime scenes, traffic collisions and community events.”
The Grover Beach Police Department utilizes a wide range of technology to act as safeguards for both officers and community members. In addition, these devices allow for quicker response times and can strengthen the department’s situational awareness of incidents. The technology consists of:
- Drone Equipment - Grover Beach PD utilizes a seven-person drone team that is supervised by Sergeant Matt Goodman. All pilots are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are required to take various tests and classes to become drone certified. The program encompasses many guidelines that PD has to follow, such as hovering restrictions and fly over limitations. As these devices have advanced geolocation capabilities, the team utilizes drones to gain better insight for officers that are addressing the situation on the ground. In accordance with current practices for officers, drones are prohibited from observing private property unless criminal activity warrants it and there is probable cause for deployment. The department has used drones for various situations, including robbery responses, burglar alarms, car crash examinations, coastal searches and other situations that need infrared technology.
- Mobile Command Vehicle - The Department received the Mobile Command Vehicle (MCV) in March 2022. The new vehicle replaces a 30-year-old vehicle that was taken out of service. The new MCV has conference room capabilities with wireless internet connectivity and contains all the necessary equipment to process crime and traffic collision scenes. Since it can be set up in a matter of minutes, the MCV elevates the Police Department’s capacity to respond to emergencies while simultaneously working with multiple agencies.
- Red Dot Firearms - Grover Beach PD upgraded its old department issued pistols with new Glock Gen 5 model 17 – 9mm pistols. The upgraded gear comes with a Trijicon RMR Red Dot sight and a LED weapon light attached that increases accuracy and safety of operations. It allows officers to focus on the target or threat by maintaining a clear visual at all times. All sworn personnel were required to complete 16 hours of training with Grover Beach’s Range Masters before officers were able to take the firearms into the field.
- Robot Instruments - The robot, which is used by the Patrol and SWAT teams to contact individuals who may have barricaded themselves and are refusing to cooperate, was received as part of a $25,000 private donation. The robot is capable of having two way conversations between the negotiators and the involved subject. The multifaceted robot can traverse rough terrain, climb stairs, open doors and disperse pepper spray into a building when deemed necessary.
- Axon Body Cameras - The Grover Beach PD was the first law enforcement agency in San Luis Obispo County to implement a Body Worn Camera (BWC) program. The Grover Beach BWC program started in 2011 and requires every uniformed officer to wear a body camera while on duty. In 2022, the Police Department upgraded their BWC technology with the latest Axon cameras and evidence management software. The new cameras provide better recording clarity, offer redaction capabilities to protect citizen identities and allow for community members to submit videos through a text message link.
The department has also implemented electric bikes to improve its efficiency in serving the community.
“Community safety continues to be a top priority for our City,” said Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson. “The City and Grover Beach PD value technology that helps keep our officers and community safe. Since February, PD has deployed its technology, such as drones, 30 times for search warrants, missing persons, building searches, ocean searches, and many other public safety incidents. We appreciate PD’s innovative thinking and look forward to this next phase of public safety operations.”
For more information about the Grover Beach Police Department, visit groverbeach.org/86/Police-Department.