City of Conway purchases security cameras costing $40K

Published: Aug. 9, 2015 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2015 at 1:19 PM EDT
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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Next time you're in the City of Conway, smile, because you may be on camera. The city's 25 security cameras are up and running, recording, and police are monitoring them.

The cameras are at the Public Safety Building, Riverfront Park, the Riverwalk, Smith Jones, Collins Park, and the Conway Recreation Center, according to police.

Since all of these are city-owned properties, which always have a lot of people coming and going, this gives police officers a closer look at these places, at all times. In some areas, like peninsula at Riverfront Park, police officers may not be able to see everything that might be going on if they're patrolling from their cars, this gives them extra eyes on these areas.

These cameras also record, which allows officers to go back and check the footage, which can be huge during case investigations.

"It gives us the opportunity also if we have some parties there that are telling us one story and somebody else is telling us something different, hopefully this new recording system will help give us the true picture of what occurred," Conway Police Lt. Selena Small said.

Lt. Small said the cameras will help with everything from criminal activity down to someone concerned with a stray animal not on a leash.

For the City of Conway, investing money in the camera system was a no-brainer, when it comes to your safety. City Administrator Bill Graham says the cost to get everything up and running was about $40,000.

To save some money, the police department's IT department is going to take care of managing the cameras and video instead of hiring an outside company. On top of that, everything is connected to the police in-house system, so all the video is stored locally.

The city's new Public Safety Building makes the entire process easy. In that building, an officer will have constant access to these cameras, all day, so when a call comes in, they can immediately look at the corresponding cameras and get that information out to officers headed to the scene.

"We're also in the process to try and get it to where our supervisors would have it on their mobile data terminals inside the car. Where they could actually, where the supervisor could stop and wire into it and see what's going on and also advice officers while they're in route to the scene," Lt. Small said.

Police said they chose this system is because it's a system they can expand with.

One option down the road is to allow private security cameras to link into the police system; so if you are a business or a resident with a private camera of your own, you could allow the police department to tap into your camera, to make that view available to officers at the police headquarters.

Before expanding the operation, the focus is on training all the staff on how to operate them, move them around, zoom, switch between different cameras, and retrieve video.

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