An eye toward safety

First phase of security camera installation under way

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
A security camera — top center — is pictured in a Marshalltown alley off State Street. The camera was installed recently by RACOM Corp. The Marshalltown-based company was awarded a contract to install security cameras to deter crime and record criminal activity around Marshalltown and other locations within Marshall County.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO A security camera — top center — is pictured in a Marshalltown alley off State Street. The camera was installed recently by RACOM Corp. The Marshalltown-based company was awarded a contract to install security cameras to deter crime and record criminal activity around Marshalltown and other locations within Marshall County.

A campaign by Marshall County Crime Stoppers to install security cameras in Marshalltown and later — throughout the county — has been under way since mid-September.

That was the report recently from Ken Flegge, manager, Dubuque Operations for the Marshalltown-based RACOM Corp.

Flegge is part of a team installing the cameras, which are specifically designed to deter — or record criminal activity.

He said the first task currently under way is to install the program’s “backbone” in Marshalltown along with its cameras.

“We estimate we will be done with Marshalltown installations by the end of November,” Flegge said.

Once completed and tested, the team can move on to installing connecting cameras in rural communities from Albion to State Center to Melbourne and elsewhere.

Cost for equipment and installation was approximately $60,000.

A successful fundraising campaign earlier this year secured that amount.

The city of Marshalltown, Marshall County (via the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office budget) and Crime Stoppers contributed $20,000 each.

Many Marshall County individuals and businesses contributed to satisfy Crime Stoppers $20,000 share.

Part of the fundraising campaign included board members promoted the security cameras to county towns.

Rural communities Haverhill, Melbourne and State Center endorsed the project this year, said board member Mark Osmundson.

A selling point to all is the cameras will be for security, and not traffic.

Board member and Times-Republican General Manager/Publisher and Mike Schlesinger made two presentations — and closed the sale — to the Marshalltown City Council.

The Marshall County format is modeled after the city of Dubuque’s successful initiative.

It started with a basic system, and due to its popularity, has expanded significantly to include more than 1,100 cameras.

Law enforcement officials in Dubuque said the cameras made a dramatic impact especially in high-crime areas.

Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman said individual Marshall County communities will soon be making decisions on how much they wish to spend if any, on the camera project.

“We will be sitting down with the city councils to discuss their annual law enforcement allotment to our office,” said Hoffman. “At that time we will discuss options to purchase individual cameras if they wish.”

Crime Stopper beginnings

From its inauguration Sept. 1, 2015, to the first tip logged two days later, to the first arrest, the Marshall County Crime Stoppers program has been a proven crime-fighter.

The results, according to Marshall County law enforcement officials, are measured in the number of tips made and later, arrests and convictions.

“Crime Stoppers has exceeded my expectations, that is for sure,” said Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper. “It has been a successful the first year. It has been helpful, and has made our community safer.”

Crime Stoppers is a national organization offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The crime fighting initiative creates a cash incentive for tipsters to report information — and they can do it anonymously via an online form, text message or telephone call.

Tips can be submitted online at www.marshallcountycs.com

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com