NORTH OLMSTED

City Council is considering allowing the police department to set up a database to use home security video from residents.

The program would be voluntary and only allow the police department to use the home video if given permission.

“The program will benefit everyone in our community,” said Councilwoman at-large Angela Williamson, who initiated the legislation. “It also allows our residents to become proactive with our law enforcement officers.”

The new law would save time and effort for the police department because officers will not have to canvass neighborhoods to find homes with surveillance cameras, she said.

The program could also be extended to the business community, Williamson said.

This will allow the department to develop even stronger relationships with residents, North Olmsted Police Capt. Ron Cox said.

“Part of good police work is getting to know your city and the people who live and work in the neighborhoods and business community,” Cox said. “When people know and trust an officer, they’re more likely to share information and help.”

North Olmsted officers have used home security video to investigate specific incidents.

“This will centralize it and make getting it quicker and easier,” Cox said. “Using a security video can show you what happened quicker and could give you the break to solve a case.”

Only residents who volunteer to participate will be part of the program, Cox said.

“There shouldn’t be any problem with someone not wanting police to have that kind of information,” Cox said.

Councilman Duane Limpert said he questioned the program initially.

“It was more of a chain of custody question and who is able to get the information,” Limpert said. “You don’t want the wrong type of person having access to other people’s personal information and being able to use it improperly.”

Setting up strong safeguards also should be a part of the proposal, Limpert said.

“You always have to be careful in handling people’s personal information,” he said.

Williamson said she found other cities have set up successful programs using home security video.

In 2019, Rocky River was one of the first cities in Ohio to set up the Neighbors by Ring application. The program allows the app to be downloaded onto smartphones that provides neighborhood pictures and videos to people in the network.

North Olmsted City Council’s safety committee recommended passing the proposal, and the full council was scheduled to discuss it again Tuesday night.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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