New eyes in Palmyra’s skies

Palmyra’s “Security Camera Improvements Project” is underway after being deferred for three years.

Palmyra Police Chief Scott Pearlman gazes up at the monitors providing a feed from cameras located around Borough Hall on Wednesday, April 26. Under the new camera system, Palmyra’s police force will be able to monitor multiple locations throughout town from Palmyra’s Police Department headquarters or officers’ squad cars.

Originally funded under Palmyra’s 2014 budget, the long-deferred $20,000 “Security Camera Improvements Project” has finally seen the light of day.

At its most recent meeting, borough council authorized a contract to CME Associates to begin working on the project.

Borough Administrator John Gural said the capital project funded by taxpayer dollars was initially put forward and budgeted in 2014, but it took the last several years of searching to find a system that is both comprehensive and cost effective. He said as of now, the hope is to have cameras in place later this year.

“The project is, №1, to take the diverse systems we have in the municipal building, which is separate from the system at the community center and at the Legion Field — which are actually antiquated — and bring them up to date and tie them into one system,” Police Chief Scott Pearlman said.

In addition to creating a single, comprehensive system, the borough also plans to add cameras throughout town on municipal properties such as the public works building, Ethel B. Hardy Memorial Park and the Palmyra War Memorial, Pearlman said. The total number of cameras is unknown, he said.

Pearlman said they have identified the areas they want monitored, and the next step is to have CME Associates take a look at how many cameras are needed to effectively monitor each location.

Under the current system, if the police want to access footage from a municipal location other than Borough Hall, officers have to go to that location and collect the video. Pearlman said with the technological advances that have taken place in recent years, this no longer made sense.

He said instead of having stand-alone monitoring locations, the more logical solution is to have a single feed that officers can monitor not only from the department’s headquarters but in their squad cars. Every location will have a 24-hour, continuous feed officers can view.

“It’s just bringing the technology up-to-date,” Pearlman said.

Gural said he understands that $20,000 is a lot of money, and at that expense, residents are “rightfully concerned” to raise questions about the project.

He said, however, the project is about ensuring the security of Palmyra residents. The borough has dealt with vandalism at both the Palmyra Community Center and Legion Field. He said the cameras are a deterrent.

Additionally, in the event of vandalism or another crime, the cameras’ footage would aid in prosecution, Gural said.

“Public safety is paramount,” Gural said.

Gural said hammering out the specifics of the project will be a matter of discussion for both police and council in upcoming meetings.