February 19, 2013
City holds off on camera discussion
Discussion on installing surveillance cameras on Main Street was pulled from the Common Council agenda at the last minute today and instead will be discussed in March.
The Common Council was expected to get into details about how many cameras there would be and where they would be located, said Mayor Brian Tobin.
The issue needs more hashing out and the legal ramifications of putting cameras on buildings need to be worked out.
“We can’t just throw cameras up on poles,” Tobin said.
Deputy Chief Paul Sandy said this morning that he had to answer some questions Tobin has about the plans before they can be discussed.
Sandy declined to discuss the proposal’s specifics, such as cost.
If the council ultimately decides it wants to proceed with the plans to install cameras downtown, then the city’s legal department would have to review the plans, he said. Cameras could not be installed on buildings without the owner’s consent, for example.
The idea of installing cameras downtown has been discussed, he said, but not thoroughly hashed out.
The intent is to deter crime and help police identify suspects when crimes are committed.
Tobin used the example of the July 2012 gang assault of Robert Miller on West Court Street, which left Miller nearly dead from head trauma and internal injuries. Three of the four suspects were eventually located and police continue to search for the fourth suspect, Antoine T. Brown.
“The idea is that in the event of an incident, if something happens the police will be able to go back and review the footage from the day and time and analyze and say what happened, who are the suspects,” Tobin said, adding it will be an “added tool” for police to use.
He said it will cut down on the cost of man hours dedicated to police investigations.
Tobin said the cost of the cameras would be added to the budgeted expenses for software upgrades within the Cortland Police Department.
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