Richmond County sheriff supports video cameras downtown, in high-crime areas

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he would love to follow in Atlanta’s footsteps and install cameras across the county to catch criminals in the act.

 

The Atlanta City Council recently approved a multi-million dollar video integration center that would compile and analyze footage from as many as 500 cameras.

“It’s one of the going things to assist law enforcement,” Strength said Tuesday.

Traffic engineers are already using cameras across the county to observe traffic patterns.

After speaking with several county commissioners, Strength said he thinks there’s support for more cameras downtown and in high-crime areas.

However, it would be pricey in a time when funding is difficult.

Too frequently the sheriff’s office runs into poor quality surveillance systems during investigations, which do little to advance the case.

“You get what you pay for and you definitely want to invest in equipment where you get the best images,” he said.

Downtown, trees cause problems. When the sheriff’s office has experimented with cameras for special events, trees not only limited the cameras’ coverage areas but interfered with satellite reception.

Claims from opponents that cameras are an invasion of privacy or means of spying carries little weight with the sheriff.

“Video equipment is used everywhere now, privately as well, and it has paid dividends many times over for us,” he said.

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