MISSION — In an ironic turn of events, assets belonging to criminal organizations were used to make this city a safer place.
New cameras popping up in major intersections throughout Mission have become a tool for law enforcement and were paid for by asset-forfeiture funds.
Mission police have implemented a state-of-the-art camera network that provides dispatchers with live surveillance video of the city streets, police Chief Martin Garza said.
The cameras were set up during the last week of August and became operational soon thereafter. In the first two weeks on the job, the camera system helped investigators corroborate stories and apprehend a carjacking suspect in the intersection of Shary Road and Expressway 83, Garza said.
The video system consists of 32 cameras that have been placed in major city intersections and city parks that not only work as a crime deterrent but also aid emergency responders in learning about auto wrecks before citizens call 9-1-1, Garza said.
“Our dispatchers will be monitoring these cameras,” he said. “This will allow us to respond to accidents right after they happen.”
The roughly $395,000 price tag for the 32 cameras was covered by asset-forfeiture funds. The program, now in its second phase, already has built the network that lets authorities track a vehicle’s movements and zoom in on faces and license plate numbers.
Initially the Police Department set up the cameras in the city parks, main intersections and the outskirts of the city with the intention to move to the city’s interior in the near future, Garza said.
“Because we already set up the network, we only have to pay for additional cameras, which saves us a considerable amount of money,” Garza said.