Surveillance Cameras Rolling in Downtown Bryan

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's an all seeing safety net that's been cast over Downtown Bryan. Cameras are now up and running and recording your every move.

It's a technology we first told you about in October, that will help police crack down on crime by catching criminals breaking the law.

It's a place to shop, stroll, and take in a little piece of local history. Downtown Bryan is quickly becoming a place to see, and now be seen.

"It's just if something happens we can go back and use it as a resource and during big events," Jason James with the Bryan Police Department said.

Just above the LaSalle Hotel sit six new cameras that allow Bryan police to see what's going on out here and watch it from inside here.

"We can actually read and see what's going on," James said.

This is this officer's first glimpse at what the new surveillance system can do at just the push of a button.

"That's your six cameras," an instructor told officers.

Cameras with the ability to zoom into the fine details on a car like a license plate number.

"That's pretty good right there," an officer said pointing at the license plate number on the screen.

Officers believe the cameras could play a big role in future investigations.

"Video has become one of the most important pieces the police department has in recreating a crime scene. When they go to court you can't refute what they have on tape," Bryan Public Safety Systems Supervisor Cory Bluhm said.

It's high tech surveillance police say could have helped them piece together the murder of Dale Ellis, 20, who was found dead in an abandoned downtown building just a few weeks ago.

"It would have been able to to see what took place before and after the incident," James said.

Although the cameras weren't up and running then, police say now that they are it's a technology local businesses, and even schools could utilize in a crisis situation.

"We'd get permission from the schools to tap into their system, once we are into it we're able to see their camera system and we'll know where we need to go in an emergency," James said. "We'll have that birds eye view from the cameras."

"We're not going to be paying someone to sit behind the camera at all times 24/7," James said. "It'll record 24/7 but we're not going to have somebody watch it. It's just if something happens we can go back and use it as a resource and during big events."

You can however, count on a police officer to be assigned to camera duty for big events downtown like Texas Reds, and possibly even First Fridays when more people frequent the area.

The camera system costs about $103,000 to install. Officials with Bryan PD say they used money from criminal property seizures, and grants from the government to fund the system.

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