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Video transmission equipment to be bought for police

A proposal that would allow Cheektowaga police to view live video streams from inside schools in the town took another step forward Monday night.

The Cheektowaga Town Board voted unanimously to purchase $31,000 in microwave transmission equipment that would be installed at Erie 1 BOCES and the Police Department's dispatch center.

The equipment would be used to send video from the schools -- which is already going to the BOCES campus on Harlem Road in West Seneca -- onward to the Police Department.

The technology is meant to give dispatchers the ability to pull up a video feed as officers are responding during a major incident, Capt. John A. Glascott said after Monday's meeting.

"Should an incident occur at one of the schools, we can get intelligence information coming in to know what we're walking into," Glascott said. "And hopefully we never need that, but it's good to have."

The initiative involves the Cheektowaga Central, Maryvale, Cheektowaga-Sloan and Cleveland Hill school districts, as well as BOCES' Harkness Career & Technical Center on Aero Drive.

Each of the districts already has cameras installed at various places, Glascott said. Those may include doorways, cafeterias and gymnasiums, he said.

The districts were able to ramp up the video surveillance capabilities in the past several years, especially through a Department of Justice grant program called "Secure Our Schools."

"The schools now have taken pretty much that entire thing over and have expanded that program not only to meet their needs, but to work with us and meet ours," Glascott said.

Overall, the system needs to be streamlined because it has become cumbersome to monitor due to lagging technology on the Police Department's end, he said.

Ideally, the system would be up and running when the new school year starts in September, Glascott said, but because the town is currently undertaking a police and court renovation, which includes building a new dispatch center, no definitive completion date has been set.

The Police Department does not plan to monitor the video feeds all of the time when school is in session because there isn't the manpower to do it, Glascott said.

For this school project, all costs, including installation, equipment and maintenance, will be reimbursed by the participating school districts, under the agreement approved Monday.

In other business, the Town Board unanimously:

*Appointed six current town employees to new positions: Peter M. Kreavy Jr. as a general mechanic in the facilities department; Marc J. Meyers as building maintenance worker in the sewer maintenance department; Peter J. Dudek as motor equipment operator in the sewer maintenance department; Lisa M. Sprada as sewer maintenance worker in the sewer maintenance department; Scott R. Fullington as motor equipment operator in the sanitation department and James J. Dalka as laborer in the sanitation department.