A look being taken at park cameras

Surveillance cameras for the city’s parks will be the topic of a Public Safety Committee meeting ton
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Surveillance cameras for the city’s parks will be the topic of a Public Safety Committee meeting tonight.

Officials have been discussing the purchase of security cameras to monitor the city’s parks for months.

Alderman Joseph Isabel, R-1st Ward, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said the city has a tentative commitment for a $20,000 state grant through the office of Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna. Isabel said when city officials learned of the grant possibility, they decided to wait to determine whether they could purchase better surveillance equipment, which caused the delay.

“I know that Aldermen Leggiero and Roth want this done as quickly as possible for the Veterans [Park],” he said. “I don’t want to see this held up any longer either.”

Isabel said Mayor Ann Thane has an oral agreement from Farley about the grant, but nothing in writing yet.

Police Chief Thomas Brownell said now that the financial restrictions have been lifted, the department wants to buy the right equipment first instead of buying something “on the cheap.”

He said the cameras should be operational by the end of the summer. The cameras will be placed in all three of the city’s parks — Riverlink, Shuttleworth and Veterans.

Assistant Chief Victor Hugo said he wants the police to be able to remotely monitor the cameras from the station.

He wants the ability to record onto a hard drive so police can retrieve information if they need to and the ability to zoom.

“There are so many features we could get, but it all comes down to dollars,” he said.

Hugo said he hopes the $20,000 from Farley will be enough to purchase the right equipment.

“If the city has money to match, we could buy the Cadillac of surveillance systems or close to it, and do it right the first time,” he said.

Hugo said there is a large investment in the city’s parks and it only takes one act of criminal mischief to ruin that.

“The cameras are expensive, but we need to cover our investments,” he said. “It will be money well spent in the long run.”

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers of City Hall.

Categories: Schenectady County

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