Authorities get GR business camera access

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Businesses in downtown Grand Rapids are giving local and state authorities permission to tap into their surveillance cameras.

Agreements to create public-private partnerships will allow the city, county and state access to already-existing outdoor cameras via a closed-circuit network, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Stewart told 24 Hour News 8. Non-disclosure agreements keep the details private.

The Grand Rapids Police Department will have the ability to view the cameras in real time, but will not have control of the devices, Stewart said.

He added that much of the infrastructure for the plan is already in place. Mounted cameras are visible on several downtown buildings, including on parking structures, private businesses and GRPD headquarters.

The city and county partnership is pursuing grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to buy new equipment for the project and expand the surveillance capability downtown, Stewart said.

He said that would be “a very good thing” for the city.

The plan has been in the works for about three years, according to Stewart. It was designed to increase safety and security downtown, where events often draw large crowds.

“In light of recent events in downtown Grand Rapids, this kind of hits the nail on the head,” he added.

There were two shootings in the downtown arena district last week, including one that injured two teens. GRPD beefed up its visibility in the area in response.

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