Washington » Police officers in Holladay want Congress to foot the bill for video cameras they can hide in high-crime areas to bust gang members.
They call it the Holladay Gang Prevention Initiative and it has the backing of Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett and Rep. Jim Matheson, all of whom have submitted the earmark request to appropriations committees.
"I saw this as an opportunity to address what is a minor problem now and an upcoming problem in the future," said Capt. Chris Bertram, who leads 24 officers with the Unified Police Department assigned to the Holladay area.
Bertram is asking Congress for a little more than $170,000, which would buy 25 cameras that could be mounted on covert poles, three new computers for monitoring, five laptops, wireless service and training on how to use the system.
If approved, that would equate to one camera for every officer, though only five would likely use and monitor the images. Bertram said he asked for 25 cameras because some may be placed for long periods in a hot spot, and he may set up a number of different angles when investigating an specific crime.
"It is nice to have extra cameras," he said. "They would be a great asset for us in the city."
Now, I'm all for placing cameras in high-crime public areas. However, given the fact that there are not that many public areas that aren't piles of dirt at the moment, I don't see any area where cameras would be effective. The few remaining businesses already have cameras in place.
Most crime in Holladay City is car break-ins in residential areas. Cameras aren't going to fix this problem.
I also think it's funny that Holladay thinks this is their biggest need. Roads are literally falling apart and the two biggest commercial districts in town are dirt piles. Yet buying cameras is a big concern.
I don't get it.