Kittanning Police Department moved light years into the future in technology thanks to a donation by 2KREW Security & Surveillance.
The Kittanning business located at the corner of South Jefferson and Jacob streets donated a new state-of-the-art wireless security camera that has been placed in the amphitheater at Kittanning Riverfront Park.
According to 2KREW executive Brian Kozlosky, the camera records 24 hours per day. The video is archived for 30 days.
“It electronically can zoom into a portion of the video even after it is recorded with great clarity,” Kozlosky said. “This is the beginning of a wireless network that can be installed throughout the town at key locations.”
Police Chief Bruce Mathews said the camera replaces a previous camera that was installed 13 years ago and has since went dark.
“During the Market Street revitalization, we lost several feeds. Since the system is so old, it won’t be long until we will be losing more. The infrastructure that was installed at that time is now so antiquated.”
Council had received a Homeland Security grant of approximately $50,000 nearly 15 years ago and installed a network of cameras on Market Street, Riverfront Park, and other locations around the town. However, Council did not budget for regular maintenance of the system that has now reached end of life.
Mathews said he was very impressed with the capabilities of the new surveillance technology.
“This new technology is amazing!” Mathews said. “I can use my cell phone to watch the video feed. It will be a great help during concerts when there is a lot of activity at the park.”
Kozlosky and Mathews plan to create an implementation schedule for future surveillance installations.
“We need a game plan of how to build out the system as money becomes available,” Mathews said.
“We have talked of adding more cameras in problematic areas,” Kozlosky added. “Hopefully we can place some cameras in there as time goes on and improve security for the community so the police can do better work.”
Kozlosky said that since he purchased the former Nolte Motors building, he is able to put antennas on top of his building and serve as a communications center for the various feeds.
“The fact that we can place antennas on our building really helps things. It makes it easier to facilitate this as opposed to evoking costs. The problem with a lot of this technology is connectivity of all the feeds. A big portion of what I am able to do is cut a lot of that cost out because of where I am positioned in town. When money becomes available, we can purchase more cameras and point them at the existing infrastructure that we now have put in place.”
“I think it is going to be a huge asset,” Mayor Scott Kline said. “Once we can expand on this, we can cover our entrances into town. If we have something happen and we have a brief description of the vehicle, then we can see where that car came into the town, where it went, and when it left.”
2KREW has been the security firm that installed surveillance in Applewold as well as Sharpsburg, PA.
The Commonwealth has encouraged video surveillance to reduce crime. Some municipalities are choosing to participate in the ongoing Illegal Dump Free PA Surveillance Camera Loan Program. It provides surveillance cameras to municipalities in Pennsylvania to help capture evidence at active, illegal dumpsites. The program loans three high quality surveillance cameras and provide training and assistance to selected applicants. Grant recipients will work with local enforcement agencies to ultimately reduce illegal dumping through public education and enforcement.
The installation of more cameras once again brings up the concern that “big brother” is infringing on the privacy of ordinary citizens. Mathews said it is a product of the technology we use every day.
“That had been a cultural debate when we installed the first system,” Mathews responded. “At this day and age with social media, the new reality is that there is no privacy. Someone somewhere is always videotaping, such as you walking down the street and you video something with your cell phone. If you google, you will constantly see officers and first responders in their line of duty that don’t even know they are on the internet because someone took photos or video of that ambulance when it was there. Someone recorded that traffic stop with their cell phone. At this day and age, that is what society has come to. In Kittanning, cameras have always been a part of our landscape for the better part of a decade. It has been used in numerous cases to present evidence. While we are refreshing the technology, we certainly are not doing anything new.”
Mathews compared his time as a new police officer 25 years ago with today. He said during his earlier days, the only way to prevent crime was to post an officer at a certain location. With camera surveillance, it is like posting a police officer 24 hours a day in potential crime areas.