A momentary break....

What a terrific weekend! Hopefully you have been out enjoying it, getting some sun and enjoying the great temps. Gotta stay healthy, you know.

Anyway, here's a story from Chron.com yesterday about how the Harris County Toll Road Authority has installed new cameras that aim to catch bad guys. You won't be surprised which local agency is eager to jump on board:

Harris County Toll Road Authority cameras are now on the lookout for more than just those drivers who blow through EZ Tag lanes without paying. County authorities promise new, upgraded cameras can help catch murderers and other violent criminals.

The cameras have the capability to search their databases and issue alerts to county dispatchers when a wanted criminal crosses their lenses.

"We're going to be catching a lot of bad guys," said Assistant Chief Deputy Randy Johnson, of the Precinct 5 Constable's Office, who also serves as the incident management administrator for the toll road authority.

Eleven cameras already are in place and another 24 will be installed by the end of the month. The toll road authority plans to install cameras throughout the toll system by the end of the year. Five similar cameras are mounted on deputy constables' patrol cars, Johnson said.

The system, which has been operating for about a month, has proved so promising that the Houston Police Department wants a piece of the action. Harris County leaders next week will consider an agreement that would include the HPD in the county system at no cost.

"This is a good law enforcement tool," HPD spokesman John Cannon said. "It's a technology we would be foolish to ignore."

Of course! This a dream scenario for Chief Hurtt, who has a serious camera fetish. He can piggy-back on Harris County's system without having to pay a cent.

Here's another idea: Recall how Houston's aging emergency radio network needs to be replaced. Harris County is light-years ahead of Houston in that regard, having already upgraded its radio system to a top-notch digital system. Maybe Houston can find some way to piggy-back on Harris County's radio system since it doesn't seem to be a priority for MayorWhiteChiefHurtt.

MORE ON CAMERA SURVEILLANCE: CCTV 'does not stop crime' (London's Evening Standard), Does camera surveillance in public areas reduce crime? (Grits for Breakfast)

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 04/06/08 05:03 PM | Print |

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