Hagerstown to buy camera system for police department

August 27, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The installation of a state-of-the-art camera system at the Hagerstown Police Department should improve safety for prisoners in the cell block and the officers who guard them, Police Chief Arthur Smith said.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 4-0 to spend $33,753 to buy an undisclosed number of cameras and monitors that are to be installed to observe, among other things, the parking lot at police headquarters and the holding cells.

Smith said the holding-cell cameras will help police keep a more vigilant eye on prisoners who threaten to commit suicide.

"They come up with some pretty novel ideas to try to kill themselves," Smith said. "A lot of people attempt suicide ... This will help us."

Other cameras will help police monitor people who drive through the parking lot, Smith said. A man recently was pulled over for driving through the lot after police suspected him of collecting license plate numbers from the officers' personally owned vehicles. During a search of the man's vehicle, police found a handgun with a filed-off serial number, he said.


Smith said that incident did not prompt the request for the cameras. The recommendation was made by the Hagerstown Safety Committee, he said.

The city budgeted $30,000 to pay for the cameras, Smith said. The remaining $3,753 of the cost will be paid using money that was seized from drug dealers.

Glessner Alarms & Communications submitted the winning bid, according to city records.

Three other bids were submitted for less money, but those companies could not accommodate what the city needed, Smith said.

The system should be installed within the next two months.

How they voted

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 4-0 to spend $33,753 to buy a state-of-the-art camera system for the Hagerstown Police Department.

o Martin E. Brubaker - yes

o Lewis C. Metzner - yes

o Penny M. Nigh - yes

o Alesia D. Parson-McBean - yes

o Kelly S. Cromer - absent

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