The primary responsibility of a video surveillance operator is maintaining the control center equipment. A monitoring system is only as good as its equipment, so one of the first things that a surveillance operator does when starting a workday is an equipment check. This includes verifying that all external cameras are set up and broadcasting, and that all the video storage facilities — be they videotape decks or computer servers — are online and functioning. The operator must check to see that fresh videotapes are inserted into analog recording machines and that digital drive capture systems have enough free space available for the next 24 hours.
During the course of a workday, the video surveillance operator keeps a written log of any suspicious activities captured by the surveillance equipment. Many criminals, for example, will try and destroy any video equipment they observe before attempting their crimes so they won’t be captured on video. When incidents occur, the video monitor works with local law enforcement in providing logs, videotapes or digital video files of any suspicious or criminal activity. Occasionally, the surveillance operator may be called into court to testify about any activities they observed on the system or the operational details of the recording system.
A good video surveillance operator will have a sharp technical mind and be capable of working with all different models of video equipment. As more and more surveillance machines move into the digital age, strong computer skills will increasingly play an important role. Surveillance operators should also have a keen eye for detail and a good memory for keeping notes during the course of a shift. Often times, surveillance operators work by themselves and at odd hours.
During the course of their duties, surveillance operators have to keep careful notes on both equipment and any activity captured by the monitors, so she should have at least a high school education. Surveillance operators work in the security industry, which makes it a natural career choice for those leaving a police force or the military. Most positions do not require a certification in order to serve as a video surveillance operator. However, if the operator is working in the position as an armed security guard or security officer, additional training and certification will be necessary. The requirements for this will vary by city.