By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore City Council members voted unanimously during the Monday, June 14, meeting to approve the purchase of several new cameras for the city police department’s traffic surveillance system.
The measure, which had been discussed earlier this year during a council work session, passed by a 4-0 vote (District 5’s Chris Harrison was absent), after about 90 seconds of discussion from Police Chief Chuck Brooks.
“In a previous workshop we had talked about replacing some of our existing cameras downtown,” Brooks said. “This is basically a workup on doing that.”
The new cameras will be provided by the City of Mobile and Gulf Coast Technology Center. The original estimate of $800,000 was pared to “about $82,000,” a savings of about 90 percent. Also, if one of the cameras malfunctions, the City of Mobile will send a technician to install a new one in its place.
“The cameras will be in fixed locations,” the police chief said after the meeting, indicating that he hoped to get between 10 and 14 cameras in the initial phase of the project. “The system is already up there; these are just replacing the cameras we’ve already got. I believe that good, quality video helps law enforcement to get a more accurate picture of what’s going on.”
Many of the existing cameras work only sporadically, and the resolution and clarity of the footage is of low quality.
The main focus of the first wave of new cameras will be to make sure the city’s major thoroughfares (Main Street and Nashville Avenue) are covered.
“I’m very excited the council is allowing me to do this,” Brooks said. “Our number-one responsibility is the protection of our citizens. This is something I’ve been wanting for a long time, and it’s a win-win situation.”
In the only other business conducted by the council during the meeting, Mayor Jim Staff announced that the city would start enforcing the portion of the sign ordinance that requires a permit from the Codes Enforcement division before a sign can be legally erected.
Before adjournment, District 3’s Eunice Johnson thanked those who participated in the June 5 cleanup of Patterson Street and announced that the city would sponsor another grocery giveaway on Thursday, July 1, at the Farmers Market adjacent to city hall.