More “eye in the sky” police surveillance cameras have been installed in Mount Olive at undisclosed, strategic locations.
The new cameras increase the number of video cameras in operation to 19.
The initial plan was to install 24 such cameras throughout town, particularly in areas with criminal activity.
Original cameras were erected four years ago, providing Mount Olive the distinction of having the first law enforcement agency in the county to use them as a combative tool against criminal activity.
Town Manager Charles Brown recalls when the idea surfaced it was met with a lot of skepticism, including from town administrators.
However, now he says it has been a great tool in the town’s ongoing effort to curb criminal activity.
He said it has resulted in a number of arrests for drug violations and shootings.
“We had one case where a camera was focused on the front door of a residence known as a location of a variety of violations. Finally, the people living there closed down and left town,” Brown said.
He said there is actually no way to put a value on what having the cameras here has meant.
The remaining five cameras to be installed will be done over the next two fiscal years, Brown said.
The town manager said early on there was opposition to even using the cameras, but as time went by people realized how valuable it was in helping the police.
He said once all 24 cameras are operating in town, they will be located to make it impossible for a vehicle such as a bank robbery suspect to get out of town without being noticed.
“We have really taken down a lot of criminal activity going on that was hurting the neighborhood, and that was the original intent anyway,” Brown said. “It has been a tremendous help to our police.”
In addition to the surveillance cameras, the department is also awaiting the arrival of new body cameras that provide the latest in technology.
Again, Mount Olive was the first department in the county and among the first in the state to use body cameras for its officers.
Mount Olive began using them five years ago.
The new ones are expected to arrive at anytime.
Officers are required to wear and activate them when they are on duty.