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Promises kept as OKC holds true to fixing issue in past FOX 25 Waste Watch report

(KOKH/FILE)

It was a promise to spend less of your money while making you safer after a FOX 25 Waste Watch report. Five years ago, FOX 25 revealed the problems and concerns with the city's security camera system.

In 2012, the city had spent nearly a million dollars to purchase and maintain security cameras. At that time, almost half the cameras were not operational.

The City of Oklahoma City made a promise in the FOX 25 Waste Watch report; the city was going to centralize operation of the camera system, update the technology and get the system back in order.

Did the promise pan out?

“Five years ago we had about 650 cameras and we are now around 450,” said Ian Anderson the IT Security Manager for the City of Oklahoma City, “We've been able to reduce the fleet in part because departments are able to take a better look at how they use the cameras within their workflows and some departments have decided to scale back a little bit.

The city says even with nearly 200 fewer cameras now the coverage of the camera system is actually better.

For one, the system is online. There are only a few cameras that are nonoperational this year compared to 2012.

“Instead of needing three cameras to cover a specific area we can use one high quality camera with a wide field of view and deploy that in a location,” Anderson explained. “So now the city has only had to purchase one camera one license for the software and we get the exact same amount of service out of that one device as we would out of three.”

The city has also been able to take redundant cameras out of service. That improvement came with centralizing the system. When many of the city’s closed-circuit television system were put in they were operated by individual departments. The cameras were bought using, in part, grants for public safety following 9/11 and departments stocked up. However, as a result of the individualized nature of the rollout, there was less communication between different parts of the CCTV system.

Anderson told FOX 25 centralizing has also allowed the city to plan better on where cameras should go and overhaul security in general as buildings and departments are upgraded.

“We have been working with public works and general services and other departments on outfitting new buildings or buildings that are going through a remodel and putting new CCTV systems into those buildings and we can do that more efficiently when it is part of the design process.”

The camera system is also targeted to the city's growth. High quality cameras are able to give police a view inside large crowds either inside police operations or at command posts. This allows officers to monitor behavior better and not have to inject and officer into an already crowded situation unless it is necessary.

In terms of costs, in the past five years the city has spent around $262,000 to maintain the system. That is nearly 75% less than the million-dollar price tag that accompanied the system in the previous five years.

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