It seems to me that Wilkes-Barre City Crime Watch Coalition head, Charlotte Raup, makes a pretty valid point.
With five cameras in the vicinity where 5-year-old Kevin Miller was tragically struck and killed by a hit and run driver, why was not even one photo helpful in catching the culprit?
I dunno, said city administrative coordinator, Drew Mc-Laugh-lin. Actually, Drew said that just because the city police opted to release someone else’s photos doesn’t mean the city cameras were lacking. He told The Times Leader that the private photos just provided the best “full spectrum” view of the car.
But, Drew, we’re talking five cameras from the city’s pricy surveillance system. Shouldn’t we be able to expect them to zero in on a crime being committed. Perhaps “Hawkeye” is a bit overrated or someone was asleep at the switch.
“We’ve spent so much money on these, we should at least have been able to get a license plate,” Raup said. You’d think.
Even a Pittston resident sounded the alarms. Anthony Antonello posted a video on YouTube which shows several city cameras in place where the hit-and-run allegedly occurred, the TL reported.
The photos which did provide information the police felt was useful in soliciting the public’s help were from cameras on buildings owned by King’s College and Thom Greco.
Drew said, “The perception is that if we did not have these private images, there would be no images. That’s simply not true.” No, no, Drew. The perception is that perhaps the city’s Hawkeye system leaves a little bit to be desired if five cameras were unable to provide valuable images in capturing the suspect in this horrific fatality.
But thanks to Greco’s and King’s cameras, plus tips, police on Friday seized a Pontiac Grand Am and identified a Plains Twp. man as a person of interest.
Drew would not show the city’s photos of the crime scene to TL Staff Writer Terri Morgan-Besecker, saying they may be used in a criminal prosecution. Or is it that the city would be embarrassed with what the Hawkeye cameras produced, if anything?
Not so, said Gus Genetti, Thom Greco’s uncle, who is a member of the Hawkeye board of directors. He said the Hawkeye cameras are superior to the ones he put on his nephew’s building. “They’re digital and can pan, tilt and zoom in,” he said.
Unfortunately, they apparently were unable to pan, tilt and zoom in on a vehicle that just struck a little boy holding his father’s hand.
“I don’t think there should be any criticism of Hawkeye. They picked up what they needed to pick up,” Genetti said. And what was that, we wonder?
Maybe it’s time someone re-visits the operation of the Hawkeye Security Systems, including its costs, especially its costs. A few years back, the company which held the contract to monitor the system warned of increased costs after it was let go. That’s because the cry baby police union filed a grievance that it was its job, not a private company’s, to man the cameras. And to no one’s surprise, the state Labor Relations Board said, that’s right.
You may also remember what happened when the police union also protested that the city was taking away its crime-fighting duties of manning the city’s parking meters by employing trained monkeys to do that job. Sorry, citizens, just trying to make a point here.
The police cost city taxpayers a small fortune over that unreasonable complaint, especially when the parity clause for the fire fighters’ contract kicked in, and they also got back pay for NOT overseeing the parking meters.
So who is monitoring the city’s cameras these days, and how much is it costing? Is there over-time involved?
Will city Controller Kathy Kane do an audit? We understand she works quietly behind the scenes, so maybe we’ll never know. But someone needs to shine the spotlight on this non-profit to make sure city taxpayers are getting their money’s worth, especially now that we’ve been hit with a 26-percent tax hike.
- Betty Roccograndi