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Committee recommends City Council accept camera grant

WILLMAR -- The Public Works/Safety Committee is recommending the City Council accept a federal grant to place security cameras on public infrastructure in high-crime areas.

Police Chief Jim Kulset said the cameras purchased with the $48,394 Safe Neighborhoods Enhanced by Video Technology grant would be another tool in the box to enhance safety and security in public areas.

The po-lice department is collaborating with the Kandiyohi County Sh-eriff's Of-fice in ob-taining the grant and the cameras. The city will receive $34,567 and the county will receive $13,827.

"The private sector has embraced video security and surveillance for many years,'' Kulset told the committee Tuesday afternoon. "Our thought process is the public's infrastructure is just as valuable and important.''

Among other things, the cameras would monitor high-risk public areas that are prone to drug dealing and gatherings of large combative groups, and would monitor public areas that are prone towards receiving gang tagging and graffiti.

The cameras would monitor road areas or intersections that are subject to increased traffic accidents or citizen complaints, and would be used to mitigate criminal activity in parks and public facilities.

Committee member Ron Christianson said he did not know if having cameras in public places was a good idea, and he said there will be more discussion at the City Council meeting.

The council is scheduled to conduct its next meeting on Monday.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150