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10/4/2012 5:00:00 PM
Citywide surveillance system being installed

Marty Bachman

BLYTHE - Blythe city officials are installing a citywide surveillance system to monitor and track traffic and pedestrian activity at several major intersections in town.

According to the Blythe Police Department public information officer Lt. Bob Matthews, cameras, radio antennas and other equipment will be installed at Hobsonway and Seventh Street, Hobsonway and Broadway, Hobsonway and Lovekin, and at Chanslorway and Broadway.

Matthews said an additional installation is tentatively slated for Lovekin and 14th Avenue, and a mobile version will be installed on the Police Department's impaired driver checkpoint trailer.

"This system will be used to capture evidence of crimes and traffic accidents to assist officers in solving cases" said Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith. "With all the budget cuts and less officers on the street, this is just another tool to assist us in doing our job more efficiently."

The project is funded in whole by a grant from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Sue Sites of Blythe is the local vendor on the project and is supplying the equipment and installation.

Matthews, in an email, said that should more grant money be made available, additional locations are slated to cover the area of the high school, 14th Avenue and it's intersections with Lovekin, Broadway and Seventh Street, and Chanslorway would have its coverage extended to Seventh Street. Also, the intersection of Hobsonway and Highway 95 would have cameras.

"We will also look at other areas which provide escape routes from the city or any other area where they might assist in curbing criminal activity," Matthews wrote.

He said the three Hobsonway locations were chosen because Hobsonway is the main artery through the city and the intersections cover the main ingress and egress paths to the freeway as well as the main north/south roadway in the central business district.

The Chanslorway and Broadway location was initially slated for Chanslorway and Lovekin but was moved due to power requirements. The Broadway location allows for monitoring of the Margaret White School area, the library, the community center, the northern portion of Todd Park as well as Chanslorway, which is a secondary east/west roadway.

He said that the range of the cameras is affected by several variables.

"With the fixed cameras, in the daylight, the tests we have run have good clarity out a block or two for vehicles," he wrote. "People have to be closer for identifications. Obviously, the larger the object, the further you can see it. So you might be able to tell there is a single subject walking a block or two away, while if there is a large group, the distance could increase. At night the distances and clarity are slightly less. The digital pan/tilt/zoom cameras have not gone on-line yet but I would expect much better distance."

Matthews said that the system will not be monitored for speeding or other traffic violations, however, the recordings can be accessed if there was a dispute over right of way, direction of travel or driver's actions, such as might be found in a traffic collision investigation or to supplement an officers physical observations.

The system is based on wireless networking technology and each location will have fixed cameras trained on the roadways to monitor traffic and vehicles. Each major intersection will also have a remotely controlled camera that can be deployed toward areas where there are calls for service or suspected criminal activity. The system is designed to be monitored from the existing Police Department dispatch center.

The system is also designed to interface with the proposed Palo Verde Valley Transit surveillance system, which will cover bus routes, stops and facilities. When inter-connected, the transit system safety center and the city will be able to monitor each other's systems.

Matthews said that while the city would like to stream the whole system online, the bandwidth necessary would be cost prohibitive.

"At this time we are looking at making updating screen grabs from the cameras available," he wrote.

The initial equipment grant was for $55,764.96. The total project is expected to cost approximately $100,000, however, the funds would have to come from grant money slated specifically for this project.

The system is expected to be up and running by the middle of October 2012.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: tracie toon

WOW....come on people grow some balls already...there are way more of us than there are of them if we all just stood TOGETHER and got rid of the good ol boys club (deleted) And further more I remember when I was running around filming their dirty (deleted), they were ducking and A CONSPIRACY!! the way if charged with carries a TWO year min...Thank you Lord for they courage you give me to speak out on the things in which YOU choose to bring to the light ) REMEMBER brothers and sister in CHRIST...GOOD WINS IN THE END!!

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: LOL embarassing people

@ Dawn Stricklin
(deleted) I hope when you have an emergency situation (God forbid) you don't call the police dept... Apparently u can handle it on your own. DONT ASK FOR HELP!!

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ Crazy T. Ya girl any excuse to strut your stuff on camera. Remember to have them put in Youtube, for us to see.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: Tax Payer

@ Crazy Town

(deleted) I would suppose you will be perfectly fine with spreading the wealth around and government hand-outs while they check every movement/transaction you do. Please open your eyes or at least, pick up a newspaper.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: dawn stricklin

ok this BETTER replace ALL COPS! We dont need em anymore! Please! lol

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: Crazy Town

They can video me anytime they want since I obey the law. These systems have been responsible for catching lots of violent criminals and I for one am glad to see them. It's not like they put them in your bedroom.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ Freedom Rings, remember that it can work both ways. We can also have proof on the police. Things must be put in place to prevent them from erasing the video.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: freedom rings

video survelliance and the beginning of the loss of our rights began with j.edgar hoover....this isn't a new thing..just finally hit our small non existent town. we are of the norm privacy...the cops will love to watch survelliance just to continually terrorize good citizens in this community and protect those who destroy it. yes mr. officer...i watched you walk out of lalo's...musta needed a little bump to keep up..riiiight

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: court jester

just want to give a big hug for the department of homeland security. they just squandered 74 billion dollars on gathering data on everyday citizens. (not terrorists) and the sad part is most of the people reading this right now will be perplexed when the drones come flying over.
jackboots are just a matter of time. so sad.

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: el pica buyas

just remember, no more scratching in funny places out in public.

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: no einstein

who made the decission to install surveilance? why was there no civic input, prior? i'm a hard working honest citizen and value my right to privacy. big brother doesn't need to know my activities. also, since we have these in place who pays the people to monitor them? is that included in the grant?

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Crazy Town

Freeway Fred~Those are relay stations (I think that's what they called them) for the highway patrol. Someone asked me the other day so I asked someone that works at the solar plant. They thought they were spy stations for the government. I advised them to obey the law, cuz you never know....hahahahahahahaha

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Walt Sleptke

John Smith, I've got nothing more to add except that you are 110% correct.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: AJ McCay

It's cheaper to pay a group of part time people with video cameras to go around and film people breaking the law. At least they will not be in stationary positions. If the cameras installed shows and records images of people breaking the law, how is that different than video evidence from an individual? Video is video. They use camera phone evidence in trials all the time recorded by random citizens. Just because it's a grant and free still doesn't mean we need it. It is OK to say NO!

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Just Curouse

@the shadow know.
Tust me its not admissable in court. Not even n Az. It says so on the ticket. They got me for speeding picture , video and all and it was diismised because I asked about it. Most people think they have them dead to rights, so they just pay the ticket Like I said know your rights.

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