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Lathrop may place surveillance cameras at municipal parks
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A number of Lathrop’s parks could soon be getting enhanced security through camera monitoring.

But which parks and exactly what type of coverage that the cameras will provide will be something that the council will have to decide at a future meeting.

Last week the Lathrop City Council indicated that it wanted to provide camera surveillance of a number of city parks, but did not formally adopt one of the options that city staff had prepared for council consideration – instead opting to direct staff to come back with additional information.

And doing so won’t be cheap.

Of the options that the council reviewed, the one recommended by staff was to purchase and outfit the city’s three major parks – Sangalang, Woodfield, and Mossdale – for approximately $420,000. Because such an implementation would require additional manpower, the city was also requesting to fill a position for an IT engineer that could manage such a project at a cost of $105,000 annually. Bringing that position online was already in the works but wasn’t expected to happen until next fiscal year.

The process of actually monitoring the cameras and keeping up with the necessary infrastructure maintenance, according to the city, will be on par with what the IT department already has to do in order to support the Lathrop Police Department and the existing camera systems that are already in use within the city limits. Doubling that workload would require additional personnel to manage.

To outfit eight of the city’s most-used parks – Sangalang, Woodfield, Valverde, Mossdale, William Moss, Park West, the Lathrop Generations Center, and Woodfield Basin Park – would cost the city $895,000, plus the cost of hiring an IT expert that could oversee it.

And that number could change depending on which way the council wants to go on the item – whether it will include license plate readers, for example, to capture who is actually using the park, and which of the parks the council would like to see covered.

Lathrop already utilizes surveillance cameras at facilities of strategic importance within the city, and just recently implemented license-plate reading cameras that notify law enforcement if a vehicle that has been flagged – vehicles that are either stolen or wanted – has passed through the city.

The cameras connect to a database with other cameras using the same software to provide law enforcement with the ability to track the movements of vehicles that have been flagged. The technology is commonly used at airports and parking garages to notify the authorities when a vehicle has pulled in.

Because the council did not approve a specific dollar amount for the project, the purchase price for the cameras will be brought back to the council for consideration before the item can move forward.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.