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New sheriff’s Parks Bureau substation dedicated at Castaic Lake

Posted: August 28, 2013 4:22 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 2013 4:22 p.m.

Parks Bureau Captain Steve Smith, left, points out the features of the new Parks Bureau Fleet Safe Boat to L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, second left, at the dedication ceremony of the Sheriff's substation that will house L.A. County Marine Patrol Unit at Castaic Lake on Wednesday. L.A. County Sheriff's K9 unit dogs Ruby and Chip,...

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A new substation housing what sheriff’s officials call one of the largest and most sophisticated camera monitoring systems on the West Coast is now up and running at Castaic Lake.

“The first thing that comes to my mind being up here today is, ‘Wow, this is incredible,’” said John Wicker, chief deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Sheriff’s Parks Bureau substation, and the features it houses, were unveiled and detailed Wednesday during a dedication ceremony.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who attended the ceremony, said the facility was originally supposed to be a boat rental shop, but it will now serve as an operations center for the lake’s law enforcement officials and lifeguards and will help “to ensure that our people who use Castaic Lake are going to be safe and secure.”

A large part of that effort is the camera monitoring system, which provides deputies with live streaming of large areas of the lake.

Remote monitoring helps with law enforcement efforts on the lake, particularly in catching those who might be drinking while operating a boat.

“So if somebody’s drinking we can not only see that they’re drinking, we can read the label on the can,” said Parks Bureau Sgt. Roger Wallace.

Similar monitoring is used to screen license plates to check if vehicles entering the lake area are suspected of being involved in any criminal activity, said Capt. Steve Smith of the Sheriff’s Department Parks Bureau.

Much of the funding for the new camera system, which is also used to monitor Pyramid Lake, comes from federal grants, Smith said.

“It’s a very, very good system,” Smith said. “It works really well and it’s fully integrated with our other systems.”

The Sheriff’s Department Parks Bureau Dive Team also operates out of the substation. Members of the team are trained for lake diving and use special equipment, such as an underwater video camera, to search the lake for evidence of a crime or potentially even a body.

The camera the dive team uses is also capable of remote broadcasting, enabling other deputies on land to see and hear what is going on under water.

“We try and provide the public with a safe environment, which is our priority, always,” Smith said.
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