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Smile: W-B cameras set Nov. 1

The security devices will monitor parks, schools, the downtown and parking areas 24 hours a day.

Members of the Hawkeye Security Systems board discuss the agenda at its meeting Wednesday at City Hall. Clockwise from left: Lisa Sanfilippo, secretary (not a board member); Lou Lau, Joseph Coyne, Frank Hershberger, Frank Majikes, Phil Latinski and J.J. Murphy (back to camera).

CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADER

WILKES-BARRE – The downtown is about ready for its close-up.

J.J. Murphy, a member of the Hawkeye Security Systems board of directors, Wednesday said about 35 surveillance cameras will be operational by Nov. 1 and monitoring of the system will begin by Nov. 15. The system is based in a command center in the city police station.

“The first group of cameras will be at Coal Street Park, the riverfront park and Public Square,” Murphy said.

When fully operational, Murphy said the system will place 150 cameras throughout the city.

In August, the Hawkeye board hired Legion Security Services to monitor the system for $232,000 per year. The contract was signed in September, Murphy said.

Murphy said Legion’s bid came in at $13.25 per hour, while a second bid from Century Security was more than $14 per hour. Murphy said two people per shift will man the four monitors of the system that will operate around the clock, seven days a week.

The cameras will be located in all neighborhood parks, around all schools, throughout the downtown area and in all city parking facilities.

Trent Miller, president of Legion Security Systems, and Dale Rinker, vice president, attended Wednesday’s meeting. Legion Security is headquartered in the Luzerne Bank Building, 67 Public Square. Miller, 26, started his business in 2004 and now employs 60 full-time people and many more part-timers. Rinker is a retired city police officer, Murphy said.

The camera system is funded by $2 million in gaming fund grants that the city turned over to Hawkeye.

Murphy said the board met in executive session prior to the open meeting to discuss personnel issues. He said Hawkeye has no employees at present, but is considering future sub-contracts once the system becomes operational.

Hawkeye board members are Murphy, the city administrator; Lou Lau and Frank Hershberger, both city employees in information technology; Jim Fisher, board chairman, a city police officer and a member of the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board; Joseph Coyne, former city police chief; Phil Latinski, former city councilman; Laura Brace; Frank Majikes, and Bill Barrett, city councilman and former city police chief.

Murphy, Lau, Hershberger, Latinski, Coyne and Majikes attended Wednesday’s meeting. Attorney Alan Wohlstetter, Hawkeye solicitor, attended via telephone.

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