Berke commits $1M for cameras & technology to combat violent cri - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Berke commits $1M for cameras & technology to combat violent crime

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

UPDATE: The Mayor of Chattanooga wants to spend a million dollars to buy crime-fighting cameras and other technology.

Berke made the announcement in his third annual State of the City address on Monday. The money will go toward public safety cameras and network infrastructure for the police department.

Chattanooga Police hope to model some of the new technology off of the security systems already in use at the Chattanooga Housing Authority.

Chief of Police Felix Vess says those cameras have helped to solve several recent crimes that otherwise had little or no hard evidence.

"You can see the colors, you can see the activity, sometimes you can see down to what type of vehicle that is, a Nissan, a Ford, a Honda, and what direction they were going," Chief Vess said.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority has its own police force, and Chief Vess says he's making more arrests by using some of the most advanced technology.

"At that time it was, witnesses were afraid to come out during, when something occurred, or witness statements by being consistent, or victim statements by being consistent," Chief Vess said.

Chattanooga Police sees the same problem.
    
Chief Vess says these security cameras are one  solution.

"We actually started using that footage and started using these security cameras to be that witness, to be that witness that's not afraid to testify because we've got it on video," Vess said.

Now Mayor Andy Berke wants technology to be the eyes for police when the witnesses won't.  

"Police reports where the only identification of what we have of the perpetrator is a dark SUV, we want to know more about what's happening on the streets in the minutes before and after a shooting," Mayor Berke said.

CPD is also looking for business owners and citizens with their own cameras to join the program.  

"They can also feed into our system, now that takes a little while to do, but if you build that in the long run you can get a lot of information," Berke said, "To both deter what's happening as well as make sure we know who did it if something bad were to occur."

The Chattanooga Police Public Information Officer said most of the money will go toward IT Infrastructure to help police file reports faster, and move to a field-based reporting system. It's still too early to say exactly where the cameras will go in the city, or how many. They're hoping to get more information on those details next month.

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CHATTANOOGA (AP) - Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says the city will commit $1 million for an expanded camera system and IT infrastructure to cut down on violent crime.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/1NPygoz) Berke made the announcement in his third annual State of the City address on Monday.

The money will go toward public safety cameras and network infrastructure for the police department. Chattanooga Police spokesman, Kyle Miller says the cameras are estimated between $150,000 and $200,000 dollars. 

Berke says officers have been relying on outdated and time-consuming technology when tracking down drive-by shooters. He says the enlarged camera system will help police determine what vehicles are on the streets right before and immediately after a shooting.

Councilman Russell Gilbert says the city council will likely support the security investment.

Berke says police will work with neighborhood leaders and clergy to determine where to place the cameras. 

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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