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A look at cameras for park trails using SPLOST funds
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The Rockdale County SPLOST Oversight Committee approved a number of items for the at their Monday meeting, mostly those pertaining to needs for the Parks and Recreation department.

The most expensive request made by Craig McCullough, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Subcommittee, was for $90,000 to purchase new cameras and build a maintenance facility to raise the "security" presence along the South River trail.

The cameras will be placed along the trail, unable to be detected by pedestrians, in order to catch people in the act of violating park rules, such as littering, vandalism, driving cars on the trail and dumping household trash at the park.

"The cameras that will be used are wildlife cameras, so we can move them around," said Parks and Recreation Executive Director Jackie Lunsford. "We can use them in places where we have trouble along the trail system. We have people who dump their household garbage in our trashcans. We just got a couch a couple of weeks ago at one of our parks."

Lunsford added that the cameras and new facility would be mainly used to stop people from breaking park laws and not necessarily to catch high level crime.

"Those are the kinds of things we looking at. We want a presence. When you don't have a presence it's kind of a free for all," she told the committee. "If there's an emergency situation, that's a 9-1-1 type of thing. That's not what where going for."

One of the committee members suggested that the department should make more of an effort to boost security going forward, at which point another committee member said that the increase in security would have to come from the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office and not Parks and Recreation employee.

"The only that's going to prevent anything from happen on the trail is a presence," said the committee member. "I'm not 100 percent convinced that's going to a presence from Parks and Recreation personnel. I think it's going to be more sheriff's department."

The employee who will be monitoring the cameras will be the newly created parks security coordinator, a position that was approved for the county's budget this year. The coordinator, who hasn't been hired yet, will monitor the cameras from the maintenance facility, which will act as his/hers base of operations.