Video monitoring equipment installed throughout Amherst in preparation for ‘Blarney’

By Aviva Luttrell

Collegian file photo
Collegian file photo

The Amherst Police Department, with the assistance of the Town of Amherst Information Technology Department, have installed video monitoring equipment throughout “high liability” areas of Amherst in preparation for this weekend’s “Blarney Blowout,” according to an APD press release.

According to the release, the video systems will allow officials to view activity occurring throughout the town in real time. Video will be streamed into the APD Emergency Operations Center, and personnel and tactical decisions will be based upon the information received.

“Video can be used to further all criminal investigations, assist to identify combatants, and can be used as evidence to assist in prosecution of offenders, if necessary,” the release stated. “Additionally, video recordings will ensure transparency for all involved participants.”

Personnel will also be assigned by APD to view and document posts on social media, which have played a role in the development of large-scale disturbances in the past, according to the release.

Police have consulted with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office to determine if such postings violate Massachusetts General Law, according to the release.

As a result of the Western Massachusetts Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement, there will be 14 law enforcement agencies in Amherst on March 7, according to the release.

Personnel from the agencies will conduct outreach in neighborhoods throughout the town to ensure the safety of the community and prevent destruction of property, the release stated.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @AvivaLuttrell.