Police chief praises records-management system upgrade

The city administration is hyped about an updated version of a records-management keeping system and other crime-fighting technologies meant to identify drug houses and dealers of heroin and other illegal substances.

City police Chief Gregory A. Foresman acknowledged the department has always kept records, but with a new $360,000 computer system the city will have “real time” data to work with.

“It will identify drug houses, dealers’ aliases and names they go by and help us track activities by dealers who arrive here from Philadelphia and other cities,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.

In addition, Campana said he will continue to press council to vote favorably on a proposed landlord-tenant registration ordinance.

“It’s perhaps the single most important piece of legislation I am bringing forward in quite some time,” he said.

It requires owners of residential rental properties, landlords and tenants to register names and addresses and show proof of occupancy to the City Codes Department. Council has not voted on the ordinance, but some members have expressed concerns about such information being accessible under the state right-to-know law.

Campana said he also is applying with the U.S. Department of Justice for a second grant to pay for additional surveillance cameras.

The city was successful in getting a $450,000 grant to pay for installation of a system with 10 cameras operating in three city parks. The parks are Memorial and Newberry parks and Roy A. Flanigan Park,operated by the Lycoming County Housing Authority.

Campana said he wants council – should a grant be obtained – to allow cameras to be placed on city streets deemed appropriate by police administration as high crime areas.

“I believe I have the four votes necessary,” he said. A city resolution is in place for cameras to be installed in city parks using the previous grant.

At a news conference Friday, District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt said $17,000 in drug forfeiture money will be used to pay for 36 infrared cameras installed in the neighborhood near Timberland Estates on West Edwin and Lycoming streets.

Foresman said some of the existing cameras there will be replaced because they don’t have updated technology.

“Several years ago cameras were placed in that neighborhood of West Edwin Street,” Foresman said.

Over the years, the technology has improved and the systems are not up to speed, he added.

“They haven’t been maintained and some are broken,” he said. The new cameras will replace the existing ones and be monitored by staff at the apartment complex,” Foresman said.