Surveillance cameras mounted inside transit buses are being fitted with the ability to provide real-time access to Metropolitan police during emergencies, officials with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada said Thursday.
The move comes after police could not see a gunman barricaded inside a bus during a lengthy standoff that brought traffic to a halt along the Strip on March 25.
A giant vinyl advertisement blocked views into the bus windows, while on-board cameras were not equipped to provide a live feed of the suspect, who is accused of fatally shooting one man and wounding another.
“Based on the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, we are currently working with law enforcement and our transit contractors to resolve issues that reduce law enforcement’s ability to see inside the bus,” said Carl Scarbrough, the RTC’s director of transit amenities and technical equipment.
The RTC’s fleet of more than 400 buses are equipped with wireless internet access and surveillance cameras — it’s just a matter of linking the two together to create a secure connection that can be streamed for live viewing, Scarbrough said.
It was unclear when that project might be completed, but an update is expected to be presented to the RTC board in June.
The RTC is also searching for an alternative material that will allow for better visibility for buses encased in advertisements, Scarbrough said.
An outlet mall advertisement made of vinyl film covered the windows of a double-decked Deuce bus parked in front of The Cosmopolitan during a standoff that lasted nearly four hours. The suspect, Rolando Cardenas, could see outside the shaded windows, but police could not see him.
About three hours into the standoff, police used a flash-bang device to break the windows and placed a robot inside the bus. The robot confirmed the suspected shooter was still inside, but Cardenas tossed it out the bus and remained barricaded. He was later arrested without incident.
Contact Art Marroquin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.
RTC bus advertisements
Giant advertisements for Las Vegas hotels, shows and shops have wrapped Strip buses since 2005. The ads, made from vinyl film, generate about $2 million annually — enough to cover about 2 percent of the RTC’s service costs.