Cameras start rolling this spring in Carlisle

The Sentinel reports this morning that Carlisle’s camera surveillance program will start in the spring and cover areas of downtown.

From the Sentinel:

Come spring, parts of downtown Carlisle will be under the watchful eye of surveillance cameras.

In the making for several years, the plan to bring the cameras to the borough received its final push through council Thursday night as council members unanimously voted to approve a contract with Iron Sky.

Iron Sky, a Texas-based security company, will handle the work needed to install the system.

It should be up and running in three to four months, said Lt. Michael Dzezinski of the Carlisle police department, in an e-mail Friday.

“The project kick-off meeting is scheduled for (this) week and I’m hopeful that the system can be up and running within the next 90 (to) 120 days,” he said. “That is obviously subject to anything that Mother Nature throws at us in the meantime.”

Funded by a $200,000 federal grant, the system, which can retain up to three days worth of recordings, will consist of 10 cameras that will be placed around the downtown area.

Grant requirements dictated the cameras be placed in the commercial district and cover the largest area of pedestrian traffic, commercial businesses and areas of highest rate of police calls within the downtown area, Dzezinski said.

Each of the cameras will be mounted in and pointed at only public areas.

Privacy masking

If a camera’s field of view does include a private area, such as inside a residence, a tool called privacy masking would be used, Dzezinski said.

“For instance, if we determine that the camera at (North) Hanover and Louther streets has an unobstructed view into an apartment window when turned at a certain angle, privacy masking will be applied to that field of view so that no one can view into that apartment,” he said.

Privacy masking is a tool that blocks out certain fields of view for any chosen camera.

On the user side of things, there will be login and password requirements for any user of the system and there will be strict control of authorized users.

Software will not only track each pan, tilt and zoom a camera makes, but also the user who was viewing and controlling the camera at the time, Dzezinski said.

Authorized users will also receive a written policy that stipulates the rules for use of the system, as well a penalties for violation of the rules and laws governing use of the system, he added.

Though some residents have voiced concerns on privacy issues in the past, Dzezinski said, most have been supportive of the project.

“They want to feel safe and they want the criminals to know that the cameras are always willing to keep an eye out for their crimes,” he said.

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