Volunteers Wanted to Monitor Police Surveillance

Not everyone thrilled with the idea of police recording the public 24 hours a day in Banning.

One Southern California city is looking for volunteers -- to monitor a new surveillance camera system.

With Banning, Calif., becoming the latest city in Inland Empire to add a surveillance system, Police Chief Leonard Purvis is hoping members of the senior community will apply at the department to join the watch.

The 12 cameras are located at the intersection of Ramsey Street and San Gorgonio Avenue, as well as Repplier and Roosevelt Williams Parks.

The cameras record 24 hours a day and keep up to 30 days of video. Some of the cameras can pan and zoom into areas hundreds of yards away with high-quality resolution.

There are speakers above the cameras so the person monitoring the system can warn the public.

Neighboring Redlands has been using a similar system.

"The chief calls it effective policing," said Liza Kester, a technician with the Banning Police Department.


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The idea of installing the cameras came up about two years ago when a 13-year-old girl was raped during daylight hours on a playground set at Roosevelt Williams Park.

Severe budget cuts also played a role, with the department downsizing from 41 officers to 27.

"Burglaries on the rise, thefts on the rise, we wanted to do our part and think outside the box," Purvis said.

Still, some critics don't like the idea of police recording the public 24 hours a day.

"I don't appreciate someone looking over me all the time. I think it goes against what this country stands for," said Matt Buckmaster, who works in Banning.

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