Big Brother won’t be watching, but Police Chief T.J. Buskirk might if the Hancock Town Council goes forward with the idea of placing wireless security cameras in the downtown.
Hancock’s Police Commission has been looking at a security system it could offer to businesses at a reasonable price, Town Manager David Smith said during Wednesday’s meeting of the mayor and town council.
The WildFire Connections system the commission has looked at is wireless, could be monitored remotely from the police station, police cruisers or the Washington County 911 center, and has tag reading and facial recognition capabilities, Smith said.
A system with less capability would have cost about $14,000 per station a few years ago, but the WildFire system would be about $2,000 per station, Smith said. Each camera would have pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, and information could be recorded and stored for later review, he said.
The town probably initially would need six stations to monitor the business district, Smith said. While the town would buy some stations to monitor parks or other city property, some could be purchased by businesses, although monitoring the system would be done by the police department.
“They buy the camera that we are using. It’s a real partnership,” Mayor Dan Murphy said.
At least one business has expressed interest in partnering with the town for a security camera station, Smith said. Each station also creates a WiFi hotspot in its vicinity, he said.
“We have a very lean police force,” Councilman Sinclair Hamilton said. Having such a system would allow one to monitor activities in several parts of town, he said.
The system would allow police or the 911 center to follow an event, such as a robbery, in real time, Buskirk said.
Not all crimes are noticed or reported immediately by victims and having the ability to review video could prove a good investigative tool, Councilman Nigel Dardar said.
Earlier this year, the town activated an optical speed monitoring system in its school zone, which would trigger a photograph and a citation for any vehicle exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph or more.
Buskirk told the council that the system generated 141 citations in August, down slightly from 145 in July.