Video cameras to be installed in Polk transportation vans

Published 5:47 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Polk County Transportation vans will soon be equipped with video cameras. The cameras will be purchased using state funds from stimulus money.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Feb. 6 and approved a memorandum of understanding for the county transportation authority to have video cameras installed.
Transportation director Jewell Carswell attended the meeting and said she’d spoke with officials in Iredell County, the pilot county for the program. Iredell currently has two vans with cameras. She said Iredell officials said with the cameras they see lots of things that go on that directors don’t realize go on inside vans. She also said they are able to see things that are being done correctly that directors may not realize drivers need to be praised for doing.
The state is requiring cameras to improve security, and the installation will cost counties no money. The cameras are guaranteed for seven years and are said to require virtually no maintenance.
The cameras are designed to record on a constant basis and turn on immediately in certain situations, such as when a lift is activated. The feed is not live, but cards can be downloaded on computers to review what has occurred.
Carswell said cameras could come in handy for Polk County. She said in a recent situation with a passenger, it would have been helpful if a camera had recorded the activity. Carswell also said a recent passenger complained a driver was speeding and there’s no way to know except from witness accounts whether the driver actually was speeding. The cameras will clock the speed of a driver so the department will soon have proof if a driver is exceeding speed.
“I know ya’ll have had trouble with at least one repeated disruptive customer,” said commissioner vice-chair Renée McDermott. “If that person had known there were cameras that behavior might not have occurred as often.”
Carswell said a bid has been awarded to install the cameras and the contractor has 18 months to complete the installation.