Board approves adding cameras to park properties
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – Recommendations to use more than $30,000 of the 2017 village budget surplus to better monitor parks in Howard received the backing Monday, May 14, from the village board.
The eight board members present, with Trustee Jim Lemorande absent, unanimously approved using $21,100 of the surplus to install security cameras at the Akzo Nobel concession stands, Pinewood Park, Duck Creek Quarry and Wietor Drive Dog Park with Martin Systems as the provider.
Village Administrator Paul Evert said village staff met several times over the past year to consider the need for and type of security cameras that could be placed in the village parks, with the discussion taking place after the new concession stand at the Akzo Nobel Sports Complex was vandalized on more than one occasion.
“In addition to that recent improvement, the village has invested substantial amounts of money in the hockey rink at Pinewood Park and at the Duck Creek Quarry,” Evert reported to the board. “Staff concluded that the highest priority locations are the Akzo Novel concession stands, Pinewood Park, Duck Creek Quarry and Wietor Drive Dog Park.”
Though the cameras would be running all the time, Evert said the system can be programmed as to when to send out a notification message, such as in the event someone has entered a park during the hours it is closed.
“It’s a third-party service who would then contact one of us, based on the protocol we set up, so we know something’s wrong,” he said. “But otherwise, (the security camera system) will record what’s going on, keep it for three or four weeks, in case we do have a dog bite or vandalism, that we can hopefully find the responsible parties.”
The total costs approved by the board include $15,933 for installing the cameras, plus $277 per month for monitoring and cellular fees and an additional $3,500 for utility-related work.
Trustee Adam Lemorande said he thought installing the security cameras is a great idea, but he expressed concerns about paying around $3,000 a year to monitor them.
“Are we sure when something happens and somebody spray-paints that we will be able to get a patrol car there?” he asked.
“The cameras will be set so that you should not have motion at Akzo Nobel at midnight to 6 a.m…,” Evert said. “It’s an alert system when there’s something kind of after hours.”
Jim Dagneau, a direct enforcement officer in Howard, said adding security cameras in the parks would be beneficial to the village.
“There will be a clearinghouse to determine whether (something detected on a camera) would be dispatched or not,” Dagneau said. “That’s basically how this one is set up. And the other part is, when we are responding to these areas, our squads are recording as well, so we might even pass somebody on the way to an alarm and we get there and it was legit. Then we’re also gaining that information about who was in that area at the time. That’s the biggest advantage about being dispatched as it’s happening.”
Quarry police presence
The majority of board members also voted in favor of using $9,069 out of the 2017 budget surplus to pay for police interns to staff the Duck Creek Quarry this summer.
Intended to deter unwanted behaviors there, the plan put together by Dagneau and Director of Public Safety Don Phillips calls for having young people in the criminal justice program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to sign on as “Community Service Interns.”
Evert said three summer police interns likely would be selected for the summer to be present on a daily basis from on or about June 8 through on or about Sept. 5 with one intern working each weekday from 2-8 p.m. and two interns working each weekend from 2-8 p.m. to educate individuals/groups on various issues/ordinances and provide other community outreach support as required.
“They would be trained to routinely travel through crowds at the quarry to identify and address potential problems,” he said. “They would report issues or incidents to the appropriate personnel and assist with resolving other related problems.”
Evert said the Duck Creek Quarry, where alcohol is prohibited from being brought in, is expected to increase in popularity after improvements were made there over the winter.
Dagneau said the interns would provide a presence and have a dialog with those at the Duck Creek Quarry, which has the potential in the summer of having more people there than in all of the other village parks combined.
Trustee Mike Hoppe, who cast the lone dissenting vote for hiring the interns, referred to the Duck Creek Quarry as a “money pit.”
“I think we’re going to have exploding costs,” Hoppe said. “And there are costs internally that are not even being identified to this board, nor the public, for manpower and equipment. I’m sorry. I’m just not going to support it for that reason.”