Toledo, Ohio residents and businesses can now pay into a police fund to have their very own SkyCop surveillance cameras, Toledo News Now reports. Run and monitored by…who else?
It is not a tax, but a voluntary fund to have more than the nearly 200 sets of 360-vision eyes already unleashed in Toledo since October 2012. The units developed by SkyCop will cost between $3,000 and $10,000 initially, plus $100 per month in maintenance, paid for by the purchaser.
Sgt. Joe Heffernan says:
It will use our equipment. The camera will have a blue flashing light on it and it will feed to our Real Time Crime Center where our officers are monitoring them according to what’s going on.
Thanks to federal grants and to SkyCop, Toledo houses its own 24/7 real time crime center – aka, fusion center. SkyCop boasts many all-weather, 360 surveillance recording, data and intelligence gathering products and even area gunshot detection.
Some of the SkyCop product pictures look like this:
Let’s just say, a look at the SkyCop company website would be a highly educational experience.
Even though the Toledo police chief claims that this crime prevention technique has lessened crime, that isn’t going to stop more from rolling out. Although, he also claims that one of the benefits of their ubiquity is the “desensitizing” effect that encourages criminals to forget and drop their guard.
Some of the places the portable cameras were stationed at unnerved business owners. Comments from social media indicate that the cameras are received less positively than depicted in most of the news segments – imagine that! Commenters have offered less invasive and less expensive solutions such as community policing and better lit areas.
A business owner who didn’t appreciate a camera pointed at him:
Mayor D. Michael Collins had said
I am not going to scrap the project after putting in $2 million…that would be silly.
Toledo’s funding for the tech came from “City of Toledo’s capital improvement fund, Homeland Security grants and the police department’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund.” SkyCop encourages law enforcement to get funds from similar grants, but also private funding like Toledo has done.
Toledo seems to be the big testing ground for this Memphis-based company’s technology – do you know of any other cities using it?