Albemarle County Police Department partners with Ring

Albemarle CountyAlbemarle County Police Department is preparing to partner with Ring, and its Neighbors app, to equip the department with an emerging tool to enhance its investigations work.

The most important benefit of this partnership is its ability to support ACPD’s public safety efforts, and to efficiently relay information to and to request information from the public in connection with criminal investigations.

“Partnering with Ring allows us to request video footage from within a specific geographic area and within a specific timeframe, equipping our investigators with important information in a more efficient and timely manner,” Chief of Police Ron Lantz said. “We are proud to find yet another way to engage with our community to make Albemarle County safer.”

Over 400 other police departments from across the country have partnered with Ring to connect with residents using this platform. The crime and safety-focused Neighbors app is free for all users, including law enforcement agencies.

The Ring partnerships have been met with controversy in several communities, with civil rights organizations raising concerns about including the possibility that video footage could be misused, that employees at Amazon have access to the footage, and that Ring might incorporate facial recognition technology with the surveillance doorbells.

Submitting videos to ACPD is voluntary, the department said in a news release, in response to a specific request from ACPD through Ring. When an investigation leads to a need for video evidence, ACPD can request Ring users to share video footage based on a timestamp and location.

Ring customers have the option to share relevant videos, review and select certain videos to share, take no action, or opt-out of all future requests.

The system is designed to protect privacy. ACPD will not have access to Ring device addresses and user data (e.g. name) is anonymized. Ring monitors videos posted to the platform to ensure that they meet the criteria for being crime and safety related only.

Ring footage is treated as evidence. ACPD has policies and procedures surrounding evidential integrity. We will uphold those policies regarding Ring footage. Only select and trained personnel will use the platform. Best practice adherence and continued education will lead the department’s utilization of the Ring system. Officers will not be actively monitoring the Neighbors app.

If you have questions about this partnership, please contact the Public Information Officer, Abbey Stumpf, astumpf@albemarle.org.


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