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Council, Cops - New Video Surveillance Approved
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Oakdale City Council recently approved the purchase of a new digital video recorder and surveillance video system, which will replace the outdated and malfunctioning system and correct several issues the officers were facing when using the video in court as evidence.

The cost of the new video system is $8,148.06, which will be broken into two Fiscal Year hits to the General Fund. The first payment of $4,507.84 will come out of the current fiscal year and the remaining $3,640.22 will come out of the 2012-2013 year.

The current video system was installed in 2010 during the remodel; however, it was a lower quality system that was purchased without a warranty and since then has posed significant issues to the officers.

“We had hard drive failures, gaps in the interviews and the system would intermittently lose days at a time. It was a major issue and an officer safety issue as well,” Det. Brian Shimmel said. “The system had glitches from the beginning and just got progressively worse.”

A closer look in to the current system uncovered that the date/time stamp would change periodically, which created issues in courtroom testimony, introducing evidence and in the overall investigation of cases. Most significantly, there were eight to 30 second gaps that would intermittently occur within the recordings of interviews and interrogations.

“And then those interviews would get thrown out of court,” Shimmel said, which would then negate all the work put in by police to catch the suspect and subsequently provide strong evidence to aid the District Attorney’s office to convict.

“The system that we have now is a cheap system that’s sufficient for a 7-11, not testimony,” Shimmel said. “It’s really disheartening when you get important evidence on a suspect and then it’s thrown out of court on a technicality because there’s a gap in the time lapse.”

Although pricier than the current system, the new system will address the deficiencies the department has been trying to work around within the DVR system. As part of the purchases that will be made in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year as identified within the presentation to Council:

* Cameras will be installed in the interview rooms and intoxication room.
* A 42-inch monitor will be installed in the officer’s report writing room in order for them to view all interview rooms, plus the detention cells.
* Purchase and install three additional audio feed lines to detention rooms and intoxication room.

“Having the new system will ensure that the bad guys go to jail and stay there,” Shimmel said.