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Consider New Camera System

With all the many important needs Steubenville City Council members are called upon to address — need we mention water and sewer infrastructure? — it is a shame they have to worry about money for law enforcement. But they do.

Last week, police Chief Bill McCafferty recommended council spend $175,000 to buy a new surveillance camera system. The request came about as part of a project to relocate the police department to new quarters.

Moving the system now in use could be accomplished for $4,000 to $8,000, McCafferty told council. But, he added, two companies he approached concerning such a move cautioned the equipment might not survive the move. “Neither company will guarantee it will work,” the chief reported.

A new state-of-the-art surveillance system would cost about $175,000, McCafferty said. Buying it could save money in the long run, he added.

New equipment would eliminate about $35,000 a year in payments for modems needed with the old camera system, the chief explained.

“I just wonder if we have the finances,” responded Councilman Craig Petrella. That is a valid concern. Spending $175,00 on new surveillance cameras could force cutting back somewhere else.

“For the safety of the citizens, I think we can find the money somewhere,” Councilman Willie Paul responded.

Perhaps so. A first step ought to be investigating whether a worthwhile replacement system could be obtained for less than $175,000. That could make the purchase easier for council to bear.

But the bottom line, especially during the current substance abuse crisis, is that keeping watch over city streets is important to the safety of Steubenville residents. For that reason, council ought to consider McCafferty’s idea.

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