The Toledo Police Department has doubled the number of surveillance cameras it’s seeking to place throughout the city to help combat crime, an effort officials said would require investment from the city’s capital improvements fund.
Police officials told a council committee hearing Friday they hope to place about 150 cameras around Toledo at an estimated cost of $1.6 million. About half of that money would come from the department’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund, made up of money seized during investigations and from auto auctions. However, the department will also seek around $700,000 directly from the city’s capital improvements fund, deputy mayor Steve Herwat said. The fund is typically used for infrastructure projects such as street repairs.
The latest plans have been scaled up significantly from those outlined in December by Police Chief Derrick Diggs. At that time, the chief said he wanted to purchase 75 cameras at a cost of between $812,000 to $1.2 million, paid entirely through the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.
In addition to the cameras, the police department would set up a “Real Time Crime Center” at its downtown headquarters. Four officers would man the crime center during the weekdays, taking down data from the surveillance cameras, Capt. Louise Eggert said.
City council has yet to approve funding for the plans.
Executives from Memphis-based firm ESI Companies, Inc., which would supply the technology, gave a presentation to councilmen Friday. Cameras sold to Toledo would be able to detect gunshots, scan license plate numbers on vehicles traveling up to 200 miles-per-hour, capture images at night and zoom in on facial features, sales manager Ryan Barnett said.
The company showed news reports indicating the camera program has successfully helped lower crime rates in Memphis.