June 17, 2010

Police surveillance cameras planned for Sixth Street, Park Avenue

City police, with the assistance of Downtown Racine Corp., are installing surveillance cameras on Sixth Street and Park Avenue in hopes of controlling unruly crowds near the Downtown intersection.

Police Chief Kurt Wahlen appeared before the Public Works and Services Committee on June 8 seeking permission to install the cameras on street light poles, like the one at right at Monument Square. One camera would be paid for by DRC, while a second camera would come out of the police department budget, Wahlen said. Installation will cost about $1,500.

The police chief told the committee there have been several problems in the area and the cameras would be useful because the area is consuming too many Police Department resources.

Crowds gathering outside of bars in the vicinity of Park and Sixth routinely cause problems for police and security officers. One Metro Security officer was shot outside of Park 6 in May, and cars crowd the intersection on Friday and Saturday nights at bar closing time.

Last Friday night, NBA star Caron Butler showed up at Park 6 and a large crowd gathered outside of the bar. Racine police wrote tickets to get the crowd to disperse. On Saturday night, police were back outside of Park 6 for crowd control.

Wahlen told the Public Works committee the security cameras would help solve and prevent crimes.

The Public Works Committee unanimously approved the cameras, and the City Council gave final approval on Tuesday.

Two of the three cameras at the intersection of Taylor and Washington