Atlantic City enhances public safety with new interactive software

Beachgoers on the sand in Atlantic City

This July 9, 2018 photo shows beachgoers on the sand in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Mayor Marty Small Sr. of Atlantic City has announced a new partnership between Atlantic City Beach Patrol public safety entities and Watchtower, a software that allows the city to interact with residents and visitors before they go to the beach.

“We’re digitizing the Atlantic City Beach Patrol and we’re bringing it to the 21st century,” Small said at a press conference.

The software will be featured on the city’s website. Residents and visitors will have access to information about beaches, threats to public safety, and safest places to surf.

Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey said the software will allow people to know ahead of time of beach closings, making communication better, especially during storm season.

“We’re excited about it, so far it’s in the testing process and it’s going pretty well,” Downey said.

Before this, all software reports such as incidents, rescues, and missing persons reports were all done by hand with pen and paper.

“The neat thing about Watchtower is that it will take what we do live on the beach — as rescues are recorded, as a hazardous area is developing — and it will automatically change it on the website for people to see without any other human integration,” Atlantic City Police Lieutenant Edward Leon said.

Fire Chief Scott Evan said this is part of the citywide surveillance program. The city boasts 100,000-200,000 visitors every weekend day, and 40-45 beaches open per day. As students go back to school the number of lifeguards is dwindling, with only 160 lifeguards across its beaches.

New Jersey beach towns Ocean City and Sea Girt are also testing the Watchtower software.

The site can be found at SurfSafeAC.com and will be featured on the city’s website. The city will post QR codes across the city so people can connect.

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