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Posted on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Pittsfield Township moves forward with public surveillance camera program

By Tom Perkins

Pittsfield Township could soon have security cameras in place to monitor public places.

At its Tuesday, Aug. 14 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of six cameras.


Pittsfield Township is moving ahead with security cameras like these in Ypsilanti Township.

Courtney Sacco |

The vote was only on purchasing the hardware, and the board will next consider policy for implementing the program and monitoring data that township staff and Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger is drawing up. No date on that vote has been set.

"The intent, of course, is to enhance public safety services and make us more effective,” Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said.

The cameras would first be installed on township properties in places like parks, parking lots and outside of restrooms, but could eventually be included at three apartment complexes, Harshberger said.

The township is also currently in negotiations with real estate company McKinley, Inc. about installing cameras near exits and entrances at Glencoe Hills, 2201 Glencoe Hills Dr.; Evergreen Apartments, 3089 Woodland Hills Dr.; and Golfside Lake, 2345 Woodridge Way.

Grewal said the apartment complexes are being considered because of their high crime rates and high number of calls for police service originating from them.

Vandalism and graffiti have also been an issue in places like public parks.

“I think we’re trying to target places where we’ve had high crime rates. I think that’s the logic,” Grewal said.

The purchase is for six security cameras, one server with offsite hosting and repair/maintenance service for one year from Camtronics. The total price tag for all of it is $31,667, with $28,500 coming from a state grant the township has been awarded. Pittsfield would provide 10 percent matching funds for the program.

Grewal said Harshberger has consulted with Ypsilanti Township, which piloted a successful public camera program in the West Willow neighborhood and in other areas throughout the township.

Officials there say they believe it has helped cut down on crime in those areas, and in the most dramatic case an image from the cameras led to the arrest of a sexual assault suspect.

Addressing concerns that cameras could invade residents’ privacy, Grewal noted that the township contacted the American Civil Liberties Union as it began considering purchasing cameras.

“We reached of to ACLU right off the bat to make sure we’re not going places we shouldn’t,” she said.

She also stressed that the cameras will send images to a server which will only be examined if it will help with a police investigation.

“The information gathered is going to be used for investigative purposes only. We’re not going to be monitoring a stream of data,” she said.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Sun, Aug 18, 2013 : 9:42 a.m.

Just another way for BIG BROTHER and BIG GOVERNMENT to keep their eyes on so called domestic terrorists. I'm sorry but last I checked I have a right to be secure in my property under the 4th Amendment anywhere I go and I don't need them watching me. Some will say that this is a necessity...I don't think it is. It sounds good but it will be abused and the camera's will be garbage before long anyways once people know about them and spray paint them or do worse things.. Fact is we don't need to be watched. It's not the job of police to monitor people. If they put these in at parks, I will no longer visit their parks. This clearly violates citizens and they should be outraged that this is even a thought that made it this far. This Country is still a Country for the people and by the people. Government works for the people not the other way around.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

I hope these cameras are more useful than that camera footage in the sheriff dept's parking lot. Remember when the woman reported a monetary theft from her car and they suspected maybe a sheriff employee took the money? And then the sheriff dept refused to release the video. Why didn't we ever get that video?

Aaron Bookvich

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Big Brother sees all.... spooky


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 2:53 a.m.

Six cameras and an off-site storage should cost closer to $3100 that $31,000. That's the advantage of the cloud, to avoid the server purchase, the sys admins, backups, security, etc, costs pennies on the dollar. Monitoring them on the other hand could cost $31,000 per year.

Jon Wax

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

Pittsilanti. trademark. Peace Wax


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

I wish Ward 3 would pony up to just hire more police. Isn't the prevention of petty crimes how NYC reduced the incidence of crime overall? Maybe that was just "Freakonomics'" take on it... Still, I'm sick of seeing all this graffiti everywhere I walk and drive. I was at Sheffler Park 2 weeks ago and the teens sitting around there were smoking and hiding a pipe between them. And I don't mean the Santa Claus kind.

Basic Bob

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

This will help them find people to interrogate after crimes are committed. Just not necessarily the people who committed the actual crimes. And they're still being retrospect about where the cameras are going. Just cough it up. Was this another unanimous vote by the "trustees"?


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

Obama and the NSA have another win in their column.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

They tried that in Durham N.C.Either you couldn't see squat or the cameras were vandalized.Don't know if they are still there or not.