Practice your smile. More security cameras may be on the way to Pendleton.
Police chief Stuart Roberts presented a list of 29 locations to place surveillance cameras throughout town at the request of city council. According to Roberts, his proposed locations are only a “wish list,” and the idea for them is only in its infancy.
Pendleton already has seven security cameras along the River Parkway and one hidden camera rotating through the city. The proposed cameras would focus on high-crime and low-visibility areas along downtown, city parks and highway entrances.
“It’s a lot smaller scope than people may realize,” Roberts said.
He estimated that all 29 cameras, if installed, would have less than 10 percent of the city in their sight.
Increased police surveillance has become more appealing following recent violent attacks and arson in the city. At an August town hall meeting on public safety soon after 53-year-old Karen Lange’s brutal assault along the parkway, audience members expressed interest in increased closed-circuit footage.
Pendleton Convention Center secretary Kathy Thomas told the East Oregonian last month that she planned on applying for grants to put the building under surveillance. Lange’s alleged attacker Lukah Chang — also charged with the 2012 murder of 19-year-old Amy Brandhagen — was found hiding that week in the ceiling of the Convention Center.
City councilors were clearly interested in adding more closed-circuit television when they took their first look at Roberts’ wish list on Tuesday.
“It’s a good start so that we know what we’re looking at, how many cameras we may be talking about,” councilor Al Plute said.
Although eager to pursue the surveillance measures, council asked city staff to come back with cost estimates and for Roberts to come back with his top priorities.
Depending on the type, most public surveillance cameras cost about $2,000 per year to operate, not including the original purchase price and cost of installation. No money is allocated for such surveillance technology in Pendleton’s 2013-2014 budget.
Pendleton facilities director Glenn Graham could not be reached by deadline regarding details of adding the camera network.
The police chief didn’t think it was likely his whole wish list would make the cut. Roberts said the downtown areas near Main Street are a high priority, primarily due to drunkenness in the early morning hours. He also advocated adding cameras to roads leading in and out of Pendleton, the Umatilla River Parkway and Pioneer Park — which was attacked in 2012 by an arsonist.
“The ability to monitor some of that remotely would be beneficial to us,” Roberts said.
To see the full list of proposed camera locations, visit www.pendleton.or.us/regular-meeting-22 and click on the file marked “Surveillance Cameras.”
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