IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Moline, Ill., to Install Citywide Surveillance System

Council members have approved spending $214,000 to purchase an Avigilon video surveillance system for 16 camera locations in downtown Moline, marking the first phase of a plan aimed at enhancing security in some areas.

Surveillance Camera
(TNS) — Moline, Ill., is one step closer to installing a city-wide camera surveillance system.

Council members on Tuesday approved spending $214,000 to purchase an Avigilon video surveillance system for 16 camera locations downtown. The purchase is Phase I of a city-wide system said to provide enhanced security in troubled areas.

Alderman Pat O'Brien, Ward 6; and Alderman Michael Waldron, Ward 7, opposed.

"It seems like a little Big Brother here," O'Brien said. "I know they're for security, but has there been an uptick in crime down here? Are we having problems with security in the downtown? Do we need to look at hiring some more police?"

O'Brien asked if downtown business owners have been consulted about the city installing surveillance cameras.

Police Chief Darren Gault said Geoff Manis, Moline Centre Main Street Manager, was talking to businesses.

"We've been working on this for about two years, since about 2019," Gault said. "We put it on hold, obviously, because of the COVID pandemic and if funds would be available. The downtown businesses have been receptive. We have had some problems in the downtown area.

"We have found that videos have proven to be very helpful in a variety of areas."

Some of the locations cameras will be installed during Phase I include the Bierstube and Bad Boyz Pizza parking lots, the downtown parking ramp, Bass Street Landing, along 5th Avenue and at the intersection of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. The project will expand to four additional phases as broadband infrastructure improves in the city.

Alderman Matt Timion, Ward 4, noted the cost for the surveillance system was not a budgeted expense and asked where the money would come from. Interim City Administrator Marty Vanags said it would come from the city's contingency fund and eventually be amended into the budget.

"I question the same. It seems a little premature to be getting into," Waldron said. "This didn't sneak up on anybody."

Sam Moyer said he did not view the surveillance cameras as "Big Brother."

"We don't have to have police on foot or in cars converging on an incident," Moyer said. "You can actually use the video then to reduce the number of police officers we have (at a scene). This is something that would increase the safety of people downtown."

Alderman at-large James Patrick Schmidt said purchasing the surveillance system would be an investment in the city.

Gault said video evidence enhances public safety, including in parks, which can be difficult to monitor 24 hours a day. All recordings would be maintained on a city-owned server and not shared with other entities, he said. Videos would be kept for at least 30 days.

"This is for law enforcement use only," Gault said, noting that the businesses Manis met with were supportive of having additional video surveillance, including the Mercado on Fifth market.

The cameras will be aimed at outdoor streets, parking lots and other public places and will not capture images from inside residential homes or businesses, Gault said. The technology does not have facial recognition capability or license plate reader technology.

Gault said one of the advantages of the system will be the ability to search for identifying markers such as "gray car" or "black jacket," when looking for suspects.

The Avigilon video surveillance system is the same system used by the Quad Cities International Airport and TaxSlayer Center, which will allow the city to create a unified video platform with the airport and civic center.

© 2021 Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.