by William Holloman
Several years ago town commissioners authorized the installation of surveillance cameras in high crime areas throughout the city.
Since then, officials say plans for the new fiscal year include adding more cameras, pushing the total to 20.
The goal is to have 24 operational and according to town officials, that will be accomplished by the fiscal year of 2020.
Town manager Charles Brown says two cameras are being installed now, and four more will be installed next year.
Currently, some of the cameras already installed are undergoing repair and the server that handles the over video system is being upgraded.
Brown said one of the additional cameras is currently being installed in “a very prominent location” and provides better vision than any other camera now in operation.
Officials are excited about the surveillance program now that it has been in operation for a few years.
Brown said when all 24 cameras are in place, all entrances and exits to the town will be covered.
He said that’s important for example, in the event of a suspect being sought, such as in a robbery, the cameras will locate any vehicle trying to leave town and will also be capable of showing the vehicle license plate.
Brown said he and former Police Chief Brian Rhodes had doubts about the worth of the cameras when it was first explored.
“I was not really sold on it and Chief Rhodes was not either, but since they have been in place we have seen numerous arrests for various issues due to the surveillance camera,” Brown said.
“It has since become a huge asset as a crime deterrent tool.”
Brown said in one shooting incident, the evidence resulting in an arrest came solely from the video.
“The whole idea behind it all was to make Mount Olive a safer place to live and work. We don’t want criminals and drug dealers here and I think the presence of the cameras sends out that message,” Brown said.