CLEARFIELD — Lawrence Township is looking to install security cameras on its buildings and in-car cameras in its police cars.
At its Supervisors meeting Tuesday night, the board voted to approve purchasing a security camera system from the Phone Guys of Clearfield for approximately $1,379.
The system includes eight cameras, which would be installed outside the township offices and inside and outside the garage, according to Chairman Randy Powell.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Supervisor Dan Mitchell said.
Supervisor Jeremy Ruffner agreed, but he wants to go back to the Phone Guys to make sure they are installing the newest digital camera equipment. Powell agreed, made the motion to approve the purchase and it was approved unanimously.
Police Chief Douglas Clark reported he is still working on getting in-car cameras installed in the new township police cars and a sales representative would be visiting the police department Wednesday.
Clark said he wants to put a camera in the police department’s SUV as soon as possible and a camera in the new vehicle that was just ordered, which is scheduled to be delivered next spring. He said the camera equipment costs $5,000 a piece per vehicle. The software system that catalogs and stores the videos costs $3,500, thus giving a total cost of $13,500.
One of the reasons why the software is so expensive is that the cameras transmit the video wirelessly back to the station and it also includes the cost of installing antennas and communication equipment.
Clark said he is hoping to have the cameras installed as the police cars are replaced. He said the department has five police cars total and it generally purchases one new police car every year. He said the cameras are expected last about 10 years.
He said the camera system is the same as the state police version except it’s the upgraded system with a panoramic view, which records A-pillar to A-pillar or the entire windshield.
The cameras run continuously but the video isn’t marked or stamped until the emergency lights are turned on or it is turned on manually by a police officer.
It also has a setting where it will play back a set time, such as 30 seconds, one minute, etc., before the emergency lights are turned on. For example, if an officer sees a vehicle run a red light and turns on the emergency lights, when the video is played back, it would show the vehicle running the red light, Clark said.
“It protects my officers from false allegations, and it records valuable evidence on drug stops and DUI, traffic accidents, etc.,” Clark said of the in-car camera system.
In other business, the supervisors voted unanimously to purchase five Dell desktop computers for the police department through the state’s Co-Stars program for a total cost of $3,295. The Co-Stars program allows municipalities to purchase equipment at the state bid price.
Ruffner said this is the final step to bring the police department’s computer system up to date. He said the price includes five computers and two new monitors. He said the police department has three monitors that will last a little while longer and don’t presently need to be replaced.
Ruffner said the new computers will allow police officers to connect to their offices while in the patrol car so they don’t have to run back to the station to file reports. This allows the police officers to spend more time out on the road and less time sitting in their office filing reports.
“People want to live and build their businesses in towns that are safe,” Ruffner said. “So I don’t have any problems investing money in the police department.”
Powell agreed and said he likes seeing police officers at local stores, especially along the interstate because it makes criminals and drug dealers think twice about stopping here.