One of Atlantic City’s most dangerous neighborhoods will have a new, more advanced camera system installed by the end of this year.
The Atlantic City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to hire a surveillance technology firm as a consultant for a forthcoming camera upgrade in its Stanley Holmes Village Apartments complex.
The $80,000 contract will cover costs for San Bernardino, Calif.-based TSG Solutions to determine the needs and best approach to improving video surveillance in Stanley Holmes.
Broken cameras there were highlighted in the wake of a police-involved shooting six weeks ago. If they were working properly, the footage might have helped sort out the contradictory eyewitness accounts: some said 18-year-old Derreck Mack was surrendering, while others said he was drawing his gun before being shot and killed by an Atlantic City police officer.
TSG put together the surveillance system at Tanger Outlets’ The Walk just a few blocks from Stanley Holmes. TSG and Tanger representatives recently showed Housing Authority Executive Director Pam James how it all works there and their setup struck her as “awesome,” she said.
The authority’s system will be up and running by the end of the year, Authority Director of Operations Tom Hannon said.
TSG will be paid out of a $500,000 security upgrade fund dedicated for 2012, during which just $100,000 was spent on lighting and other, smaller, related improvements.
Commissioner Michael Harvey expressed concerns about compatibility with the forthcoming ShotSpotter audio gunshot detection and new citywide surveillance systems under development by the Atlantic City Police Department.
“I’d hate to spend all that money and the systems can’t even interchange, or interact,” Harvey said.
TSG is only doing an assessment to determine what the needs are before putting together bid specs for the installation project. If the city has selected its own vendor by then, the authority could simply include a compatibility requirement as one of the specs, Hannon said.
If the city doesn’t act in time, the authority likely will proceed independently, Hannon said.
Even if the authority proceeds before the city makes a decision, the chosen system will be broadly compatible and so should link up and work in conjunction most others, 2nd Ward Councilman Marty Small said later Thursday.
Small organized a trip to East Orange two weeks ago to examine that city’s integrated security system, which combines cameras, vehicle tracking, web-based community alerts and other components. It is credited with slashing East Orange crime rates by 70 percent during the past five years. James and Harvey were among the dozen or so officials who made the trip.
Retired New York City Police Inspector Jose Cordero’s Cordero Group created the East Orange system utilizing multiple manufacturers.
Atlantic City officials have not yet written the request for proposals for establishing something similar in the resort. Once they do, however, the bidding process will be open to any company, said 5th Ward City Councilman Rizwan Malik, who heads City Council’s Technology Committee.
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