Chattanooga Budgets for Mobile Video Surveillance in Police Cruisers

Chattanooga officials on Tuesday said the city is prepared to spend up to $660,000 for security cameras in its parks and police cars.

Mark Keil, the city's chief information officer, said the city will buy 23 fixed cameras from Motorola to be mounted in Coolidge and Renaissance parks and four mobile cameras to be put in police cruisers.

Police officers will be able to use laptops in their cars to access a wireless Internet program that will allow them to view images from each camera, Mr. Keil said.

"An officer can sit in his patrol car with his laptop and see every camera," he told the City Council's Public Works Committee. "That way, if there's an incident, he can see whether to call for more backup."

Recent reports of unruly crowds on the downtown riverfront have prompted officials to increase security measures in parks, and Mayor Ron Littlefield previously said he would boost surveillance.

Bob Randolph, an official with Motorola, said the cameras can archive images that could be reviewed by law enforcement after an incident.

"When cameras are installed, the biggest benefit is as a deterrent," Mr. Randolph said. "With the images, you have the ability to prosecute."

Dan Johnson, the mayor's chief of staff, said the capital budget includes $660,000 for the security cameras to cover the entire city, but the initial purchase of cameras for the North Shore will cost $395,000.

The City Council will vote next Tuesday on the expenditure.

"We will have the ability to add cameras," Mr. Johnson said.

Councilwoman Marti Rutherford said she would like to see cameras on Brainerd Road, where there are many bars and nightclubs.

"I wouldn't vote for this if I knew it was only for north of the river," she joked.