The Mansfield Division of Police will lease a mobile security unit for the next three years.
The camera system will be identical to the one stationed on North Park Street outside Dan Lew Exchange and could be used for a variety of things, such as monitoring large crowds or summer automobile racing on Park Avenue West, said police Chief Keith Porch.
“Everybody is aware of the personnel issues. So this would be a force multiplier for us,” he said.
Made by Live View Technologies, the mobile unit comes with a strobe light, two-way speaker and infrared cameras that upload recordings to the cloud, according to Porch.
On Wednesday, Porch stressed to council members its cameras are not meant for surveillance.
It’s an overt camera system, not meant for surveillance
“It’s an overt camera system. Meaning, it clearly has strobe lights. There is no secret what that camera is there for and its purpose. It’s definitely to monitor streets, crowds — we can use it out at Inkarceration or (for) parades,” Porch said, referring to the heavy metal music festival.
Porch said he doesn’t have the manpower for someone to monitor the mobile unit’s cameras 24/7.
But it does come with a motion detection feature and will start recording when someone gets close to it.
Patrol supervisors also will have the ability to view the unit’s live camera feed on their work phones and send help should an issue arise.
The mobile unit on North Park Street is on loan from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and was placed there “to monitor the homeless situation,” Porch said.
Before that, it was stationed on Park Avenue West during a two-month testing period.
“Citizens thought through social media that these were speed cameras, which was fine because it achieved our objective. I would like for that to continue,” Porch said.
To lease its unit, the department is using money from the American Rescue Plan.
Utah-based Live View Technologies will be paid $70,200 over the course of three years, about $1,950 a month.
Should the unit be damaged or vandalized, Porch said the equipment is fully covered by the company under the lease agreement, which council unanimously approved.