Sheriff intrigued by idea to database surveillance cameras

Sometimes, video cameras capture information that could be useful to police.

But, if police don’t know about the camera and the owners don’t know their video could be helpful, that information can be lost.

An effort in Jamestown, N.Y., to connect citizens who have exterior surveillance cameras with police, prompted the Times Observer to contact law enforcement officials in Warren County to see if a similar program could be undertaken here.

Warren County Sheriff Ken Klakamp said he’s interested in exploring the idea and will speak with the Times Observer when he returns from a Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association Conference.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson is working on the Community CrimeCam program with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, Jamestown Police, and Dunkirk Police.

They are creating a voluntary database of neighborhood surveillance cameras.

“The database will help police officers know where surveillance cameras are and whether the camera’s owner minds if police ask to see video that may pertain to an investigation,” according to the Jamestown Post-Journal. “All the camera owner is doing by signing up is indicating that they have exterior cameras and that they are comfortable with being contacted in the course of an investigation.”

The system would not only be useful in identifying perpetrators. It could potentially exonerate people accused of wrong-doing.

The CrimeCam idea has some roots in a recent incident in Jamestown in which a pit bull-mastiff mix charged two Jamestown police officers. The animal was killed and there were immediate concerns in the community. The incident was caught on video and the video was shared with police, the Post-Journal, and the Times Observer.