Fayetteville police plan video monitoring system for public area - WNCT

Fayetteville police plan video monitoring system for public areas

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Surveillance cameras could be watching people in Fayetteville by the end of the year.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Chief Harold Medlock said the police department is beginning the implementation of a CCTV [closed-circuit television] system.

The system will serve as a force multiplier, allowing the police department to keep an eye on places without having to have an officer there.

The stated goal of the system would be to monitor areas that can have large crowds.

Festival Park and the downtown business district were listed as good fits for the monitoring. Police would also consider cameras at other city parks or even in public areas near problem spots such as certain night clubs.

The system would be monitored live from police headquarters for several hours each day, and it would be recorded the rest of the time.

Some people in downtown Monday said the system would be a waste of money and it could invade privacy. However, most people like Terika Jones said they like the idea.

"It's not like it's in my house," Jones said. "It's to protect the city - to protect myself as well as the people and our kids. So I think it's a great idea. [Police officers] can't be everywhere at one time."

Anna Rodriguez agreed, saying she understands how police could use video to help them catch criminals.

"That's one of the big ways they caught the Boston bomber was by video surveillance cameras," Rodriguez said. "Yeah, it's a good idea, very good idea.

The first stage of the monitoring system would be paid for by a federal Justice Assistance grant. The grant is for $102,000. Medlock estimated he could install five cameras and the headquarters monitoring system for about $15,000. The remaining money from the grant would help maintain the cameras.

The Downtown Business Alliance has also expressed interest in joining the monitoring system. Medlock said businesses in the Alliance could contribute money to add cameras to the system.

Medlock also said the police department will pursue opportunities to link with surveillance systems already installed at private businesses, from downtown shops, to conveniences stores to shopping centers. Any video monitoring system that uses IP or internet-based monitoring could be connected to the police department where an officer would also monitor the business's cameras.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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