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The Journal Gazette

  • In this Tuesday, July 16, 2019, file photo, Ernie Field pushes the doorbell on his Ring doorbell camera at his home in Wolcott, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:00 am

FWPD, Ring pair in sharing of videos

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Police Department has agreed to a partnership with the Ring doorbell-camera company that will give officers potential access to homeowners' video footage, the department said Tuesday.

“We are going to be signing onto the Ring Portal for Police program,” said Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena, the police department's public information officer. “We will have a short time to get familiar with the program once we get up and running but hope to have it in operation in about a month.”

City police met with Ring representatives late last month. Ring has established video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police departments across the country, according to the Washington Post.

The agreements allow police to ask for video recorded by homeowners' cameras within a specific time and area. Homeowners can deny the requests, Rosales-Scatena said.

Only video for crime and safety investigations would be considered, she said. Officers don't receive ongoing or live video access.

Homeowners in a certain area would be contacted by Ring after police ask for video footage recorded during a specific time frame. The homeowners can click “no” to the request, submit all videos to police or only videos the homeowners select, Rosales-Scatena said.

The service, she said, would be free to the police department.

Begun in 2013 as a line of internet-connected “smart doorbells,” Ring sells alarm systems, floodlight cameras and motion-detecting doorbell cameras starting at $99, as well as monthly “Ring Protect” subscriptions that allow homeowners to save the videos or have their systems professionally monitored around the clock.

Legal experts and privacy advocates have voiced concerns about Ring's plans.

The Santa Monica, California, company is owned by Amazon, which bought the firm last year for more than $800 million. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.

jchapman@jg.net