REDMOND, OR -- City officials, families and other supporters gathered at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond Thursday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the new, fully accessible Hope Playground. Behind the scenes, crews were busy installing a sophisticated camera system in an attempt to deter crime. Lt. Mike Kidwell says it was a joint effort between Redmond Police, the city and Parks Department. "Part of what we’re trying to do is to make it a safer environment at Sam Johnson Park; and make it more of a family atmosphere down there where the children and families that choose to use the park don’t have to worry about the criminal activity that occasionally goes on down in our park system."
Lt. Kidwell tells KBND similar systems are already in use at a number of other city parks and at Evergreen School, currently being converted into the next City Hall. "We’ve been able to see people that have come in and either trespassed inside the actual school itself, or committed criminal mischief acts on the property and stuff like that. So, it allows us to see those suspects and potentially identify them, and then hold them accountable for their activity."
Police recently arrested an adult and four juveniles at Sam Johnson Park, and seized more than a half a pound of marijuana. Lt. Kidwell says the new security cameras should help prevent future problems. "They allow us to help monitor those parks, number one. We have the ability to, not only use those to identify suspects that commit ‘quality of life crimes’ in our parks, we can also monitor the parks – we can log onto the MDTs (Mobile Data Terminals) in the cars and monitor those same cameras through closed circuit from our patrol vehicle, also."