By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — More than three years after former U.S. Rep. Chris Carney announced a $200,000 grant for surveillance cameras for Sunbury, the city is about to begin placing the technology around town.
Sunbury Councilman Todd Snyder said the grant will provide for the use of 200 cameras. Fifty stationary cameras will be online by Jan. 1, he said.
Until then, Sunbury will use 12 mobile cameras for surveillance.
“These cameras are real-time accessible,” Snyder said. “They run on battery, and we do not need any electricity, which means in case of emergency, we will still have access to watch video.”
After the beginning of the year, “We will be adding more cameras with the help of local businesses,” Snyder said. “It will continue to grow, and we are ready to get started.”
The 12 mobile cameras also will be able to be accessed by remote control, Snyder said.
Carney, a Dimock Democrat, was critical of Sunbury several weeks ago when he learned the grant he sought wasn’t being used.
“We wanted to make sure we got the most updated equipment,” Snyder said. “Because once we purchase the cameras, they will soon be outdated because of all the new technology coming out daily.”
The entire $200,000 will be spent, but Snyder said after months of research, he believes he has found the best purchases for the cash.
Snyder and fellow Councilmen Jim Eister and Kevin Troup last Monday voted in favor of spending the final dollars on the equipment that will house the cameras, as well as the network system that will be able to hold images from up to 300 cameras. Councilman Joe Bartello voted no.
“I am shocked at you, Joe,” Troup said. “Why would you vote no to public safety?”
Bartello didn’t respond.
The grant was strictly for surveillance cameras and could not have been used for anything else, Snyder said.
“I want to thank Councilman Snyder for all the work he did in getting this project on track,” Eister said. “He did a fantastic job, and I look forward to this city becoming safer.”
Snyder, who has worked with the installation of surveillance cameras for more than 20 years, said he also enlisted the help of Police Chief Steve Mazzeo.
“He absolutely needs to be involved here,” Snyder said. “He will be a huge help to the location of these.”
Snyder is spearheading the crew of city employees who will install the cameras.
“I will be going with them,” he said. “We will be getting the purchase of these made in the next few weeks and ... we will begin to put them up.”
Snyder and Mazzeo refused to disclose the locations of the cameras.
“They will be everywhere,” Snyder said. “The 12 mobile cameras will really be everywhere.”
This spring, Snyder was instrumental in acquiring smartphones for the police department.
“The cameras will be able to be seen on the phones,” he said. “It’s time we take advantage of this technology and help make this city as safe as possible.”
Persing, who was on vacation, previously said he was behind Snyder 100 percent.
“This is something that is going to be huge for the city,” Persing had said. “With the help of Todd and the chief, we will have double protection in this city.”