January 11, 2010

City Notes: Racine police plan upgrade to video capabilities; RCEDC contracts renewed

The Racine Police Department is preparing to upgrade one of its crime-fighting tools.

The department is set to purchase video file management software that will help its officers use video cameras to monitor and record criminal activity. The program will help the department - and eventually all city departments - organize photos and videos for easy access, said Deputy Chief Tom Christensen, who presented the software to the Finance and Personnel Committee Monday night.

For police, that will mean storing evidence for trials and ongoing investigations. It will also mean officers will be able to access neighborhood video cameras on laptops from their squad cars and catch suspects in the act from blocks away. Videos can be saved for up 90 days, which will allow investigators to review surveillance cameras.

Christensen said the Racine Unified School District and local businesses, like banks, may also be able to link into the system to help police monitor activity.

The committee voted unanimously to allow the police department waive formal bidding to buy the software from the Tough Solutions company. The city's information systems department researched the software and confirmed it was compatible with existing systems, Christensen said.


The Finance and Personnel Committee voted to renew the Racine County Economic Development Corp.'s contract with the city for 2010. The $69,400 contract will be paid out of the shared revenue from the city's sewer agreement with its neighboring communities. The City Council will vote on the contract next week.

RCEDC, part 2

The committee also voted to renew RCEDC's $55,000 contract for brownfield redevelopment. "Brownfields" are polluted lands unsuitable for development without cleansing. RCEDC coordinates efforts to clean up brownfields in Racine, which includes identifying properties that need remediation and finding grants to pay for the remediation.

RCEDC plans to focus on the former Racine Steel Castings and Walker manufacturing sites for its brownfield program, according to Tina Chitwood, a community development specialist with RCEDC.

The committee voted unanimously to renew the contract. The City Council will vote on the proposal next week.

Breast feeding grant

The city's Health Department is set to receive $17,656 from the state for a breast feeding peer counselor. The counselor is part of the city's WIC program, which serves 1,700 clients in Racine. The Finance and Personnel Committee voted to accept the grant, which requires no city money. The City Council is set to finalize the grant next week.

City fee goes down

Here's a change: A city fee is going down. The area's household hazardous waste program will cost local property owners $2.40 this year, down from $4 in 2009, according to Keith Haas, general manager of Racine's utilities. The drop in price is because the program's $100,000 annual cost is now spread over all communities east of I-94.

The Finance and Personnel Committee voted to accept the decrease, and the council will finalize the price next week.


  1. Why do we pay RCEDC they are a bunch of morons from the Gman down!

  2. Yes why are we paying RCEDC anything? Who out there are we paying for? Would the Becker Emails show anything about this?
    Why is Dickert just as interested to keep the email out of the public eye?

  3. The bids were waived due to input from the department that can't produce emails for open records requests. That should give the board great confidence.

  4. Anon 8:49

    The city was able to produce the emails but the racine post requested such a broad range and didnt want to pay for them. Open records dosent mean its free of charge.....

    Please get all the facts before you belive the one side being presented by this website.

  5. What a scam

  6. Uh, no. The city was clearly not interested in releasing the emails and slapping a $10K+ price tag on our records request. The City Council could have requested the emails and released them to the public, but no one was willing to research Becker's past.

  7. 6:20 - amen!

    There is one certain RCEDC employee who would not like to see the emails released, nothing like having an affair. Should check phone records also.

  8. It is fun to watch both sides of the political arena take stabs at the truth when it is posted. The reality of most of these issues is that the truth is somewhere in the middle of the story and the blogs.

    This note applies to this story and many others like the Lehman - Mason stories.

  9. Perhaps this could become a new economic development plan for the city - deliberately create sleazy situations and charge $$$ for package deals on emails/phone records/audio recordings. Could this be a corridor development issue?

  10. 11:35 You are on to something.

    They are already doing better at your suggestion than revitalizing Uptown(thanks for that red thing, aka scrap metal)or the condos in West Racine. And the list could go on...Good work RCEDC, keep it up!

  11. What is with this fetish the police department has with cameras and video? It seems that they want every street, alley, nook and cranny covered with cameras. Keep your shades drawn folks or they'll be spying through your windows.

  12. One question.....What kind of economic development has the RCEDC created? Surely someone can answer this as it is the purpose of the committee. Sounds like Dickert peeps must be a part.

  13. The use of cameras is a well known crime stopper. This is known world wide as the way to expand the impact of law enforcement. In the UK the cameras have used extensively to address terrorism and other crimes. They don't look into your windows just monitor public places.

  14. Right now is not the right time to be investing in the latest technology gadgets. The police are getting more and more disconnected with the community because of this technology. Maybe we can arrest/tazer ourselves in the future. I have watched the police hide around the corner from large disruptions and not step in to stop it. Leaving the neighbors to deal with the disturbing event. Then after they peek out their heads and try and interview. Then they wonder why no one wants to do an interview?

  15. anon 11:13..how would anyone ever know "they don't peep in your windows". You put too much trust and faith into government.

    Lots of people put that same type of trust in Bernie Madoff, we see how that panned out.

  16. how would anyone ever know "they don't peep in your windows".

    We don't. We trust that they are not. If the police really wanted to spy on you without your permission, they would not buy the cameras in this public way. You wouldn't know about it.