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City buying 10 security cameras to boost safety downtown

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Ten new security cameras will be in place in selected areas around downtown Columbus within the next five weeks.

A contract for $89,900 to provide and install the cameras and to provide training for the Columbus Police Department has been awarded to Security Pros, Jeffersonville.

Cameras have been proposed for Fourth and Washington streets at The Commons, 11th and Washington streets, Morningside Park in the East Columbus neighborhood and the Columbus Police Department training facility on Andrews Street. The city also will seek a second camera at Ninth Street Park. The locations will have multiple cameras to provide 180-degree coverage of the surrounding areas.

The strategy behind using the cameras is to provide more security in areas where there have been a large number of police calls, such as 11th and Washington streets, near the Ninth Street area, and as added

security for high-value properties such as The Commons.

The company was chosen this week by the city’s Board of Works from four proposals submitted by security companies. Initial cost estimates for the project were about $116,300.

Rather than a bidding process, the city used a request for proposals to purchase and install the new cameras. The city earlier revealed the names of the companies that submitted proposals but not the cost of the cameras being proposed. City attorney Jeff Logston explained that by keeping the dollar amounts private, as allowed by the state statute, the city can negotiate a final price for the surveillance cameras without competitors’ offers becoming public.

The process allows the city to negotiate a final plan, draw up a contract and make a purchase without going through a bidding process, Logston said.

Security Pros’ proposal was not the lowest among the proposals submitted but was chosen because it was the contractor for the existing camera at Ninth Street Park and the city was pleased with the company’s cameras and service, Deputy Police Chief Todd Harry said.

Logston said price can be a factor but not the determining factor.

Police prefer the Security Pros’ cameras because viewing can be done live or after-the-fact, and both are in high resolution. Camera footage may be stored for two weeks on the camera servers.

The project is being funded from a capital fund in the city technical advisory committee’s budget.

Providing 24-hour surveillance, the new cameras work from a Web-based system, according to the company’s specifications.

Police officers could monitor any camera location from the department, their cars and mobile devices, Harry said.

When board member Jayne Farber asked if two weeks was long enough in ongoing police investigations, Harry explained police can also download the video to save it, if necessary.

The company also is providing in-person training and a one-year warranty on the equipment it provides, according to its proposal.

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