East St. Louis Police Want State-of-the-Art Surveillance

EAST ST. LOUIS -- City officials are looking at a state-of-the-art security system that will allow police officers to use remote cameras to watch over parking lots and heavily traveled and high-crime areas from their desktops.

The system, called Real Time Surveillance-Sentry, also will give the police department the capability to pull a digital video image of a suspect from a personal computer.

Representatives of RTS-Sentry were in East St. Louis on Friday demonstrating the security system and answering questions from officials with the city, police department and East St. Louis Housing Authority.

The cameras, which are networked, can pan, tilt and zoom, all by remote control. Sales manager Steve Hanger said the police department would be able to control their cameras via the Internet.

He said police would receive a snap-shot image of a criminal inside of a building and the equipment would also show them where the alarm was triggered and what cameras were activated.

Hanger said the system can cost about $1 million, with the price depending on how many cameras are bought.

Police Chief Ronald Matthews said the new security system will produce a significant decrease in crime.

"Our police dispatchers will have video images instantly available to them. They will also be able to tilt and zoom the cameras to follow suspicious subjects from one camera to another," he said.

Matthews also said the new security system will be a big help in terms of prosecution because the images caught by the cameras could be downloaded and taken straight to the state's attorney's office.

"The suspect can't deny his face on the tape," he said.

Chicago plans to begin installing the system in 2006, according to the company's literature.

City Manager Robert Storman said he was impressed by the system.

"The chief of police has requested us to take a serious look at the security system. Once we have had time to evaluate it and we feel it will be a crime stopper, we'll recommend it to the City Council and then see if we can find grant money to pay for it," Storman said.

Deputy Police Chief Rudy McIntosh said the new security system will be an effective tool to help police deter crime in the city.

"I listened to and looked at the presentation. I was very impressed. It's a state-of-the-art security system. East St. Louis could benefit greatly from a security system like this," McIntosh said