Updates, Expansion Coming to City’s Surveillance Camera System

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 16, 2023 at 9:58am

A number of municipal locations in Jacksonville will get a major security upgrade soon.

The Jacksonville City Council unanimously approved a project bid by Global Technical Systems Incorporated of Jacksonville to upgrade security cameras around the Municipal Building, and expand coverage to other city properties during their regular meeting Monday night. The project will cost the city approximately $200,000.00.

Jacksonville/Morgan County Emergency Management Director Phil McCarty presented the project to the council and says the current camera system was installed roughly 20 years ago when Don Cook was still serving as Chief of Police and focused on the Municipal Building only.

McCarty says the expansion will utilize a Genetec camera system that combined with new infrastructure already in place, will allow for vastly greater security coverage in more locations.

With technology, as well as the i3 connectivity we have, we’re going to pick up properties at our parks, our fire [department] substation, water treatment, and wastewater treatment plants to leverage the I.T. connectivity between those locations as well as the evolving technology in the camera industry.”

McCarty says covering all of the city’s parks will be a phased-in process, but will start with installations at both Community and Nichols Park.

Jacksonville Deputy Police Chief Rodney Cox says having greater coverage of more than just the Municipal Building will be a vital asset for police investigators who already utilize camera evidence as often as possible. “We go around when a crime is committed and search the area for Ring Doorbells or even surveillance cameras in the area as everybody has them these days.

This is going to help us solve crimes around here whether it’s vandalism in the parks, or vandalism here [at the Municipal Building]. Several years ago we had a homicide in our own parking lot and the cameras that are there helped with that investigation. So having cameras around this area is going to help us solve a lot more crimes.”

McCarty says other private entities in Jacksonville have the same camera systems already in place, so utilizing the federation aspect of the service will also help the police help the public faster.

We will be able to grow within our partners. Not only with our public partners within the city but also the product that we have has a federation portion of it where we can have a public-private partnership where if the police department in a time of emergency needs to look at a private entities cameras, we’ll use the example of Illinois College. They could grant limited and monitored access to the police in their system. It just makes us more efficient as we move forward into the era we are in now.”

McCarty says having the i3 fiber network already in place in most of the areas of concern is a huge help in lowering the costs of both the project and the planned future expansion of the system.