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Derry to install security cameras at Hood Park

Union Leader Correspondent

October 11. 2017 11:48PM

DERRY — The town will install a video monitoring system soon in Hood Park.

Michael Fowler, director of the Derry Public Works Department, said the move was in response to discussions during the fiscal 2018 sessions this spring, appropriating $20,000 to implement a security network in the park.

“That will be used to help the police dealing with any issues they have with people that are in the park,” he said. “We do have other places in town that have surveillance cameras, and this is just another phase in that program.”

The goal is to survey the existing park layout and provide maximum amount of surveillance coverage, particularly around the basketball court, picnic area and parking lot.

In addition to the equipment remaining resistant to weather conditions and vandalism, the town requires any surveillance footage to be retained for 30 days, work during the overnight hours and be suitable for court prosecution. Derry officials also want that the cameras have the ability to zoom in to identify license plates and possible features on suspects.

The town is currently accepting bids for the video monitoring design until Nov. 3. A pre-bid meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 at the park to review site conditions.

“We’ll see who’s giving us the best value for the amount of money that’s available and look at coverage, look at all the different parameters then decide on signing a contract,” Fowler said. “We want to get that project off and running as soon as feasibly possible.”

Law enforcement in town say cameras at the park will help monitor activity there, from both the police and recreation departments.

Derry police Capt. Vernon Thomas said there have been summer programs at the park in the past, and there were less complaints with more supervised daily activity.

This past summer, however, there were few organized town programs at the park and a “more diverse clientele began to use the park,” Thomas said.

Police patrols increased in the spring with more patronage there.

“Our regular call volume does not allow us to monitor the park as much as we’d like and cameras are a good supplement to our patrol efforts,” Thomas said.

“The cameras capture and record activity at the park that we will be able to later retrieve if a crime is reported there. The most significant benefit from having cameras there is the deterrence factor,” he added. “Once cameras are in place it is less likely that someone will commit a crime or create problems for the town knowing that the activity will be caught on video.”

Other parks, including the Alexander Carr and Don Ball facilities, have cameras. Other town-owned properties have had cameras for a decade.

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