Months ago, we revealed breakdowns with the city cameras and the real time crime center. Now, we’ve found it again after the shooting of Officer Shane Bartek when police had no idea what had happened.
On dispatch radio, you hear an officer say, “Real-time just got back to me. The camera at Rocky River and Puritas doesn’t work.”
The 911 call in the officer’s case came from a person simply reporting a person down and unresponsive.
So, after police realized that person had been shot twice, they turned to city security cameras hoping for some glimpse of the killer or what happened to his car.
But, again, radio recordings show the real time crime system was no help.
A woman in dispatch can be heard saying, “It says that they didn’t have any functioning cameras. The closest camera, it just says they were checking them. Camera doesn’t work at Rocky River.”
Last year, the I-Team revealed case after case with city cameras down, including right above a murder scene near the West Side Market.
The cameras also did not capture anything near the scene of a deadly hit and run.
Even recently, we’ve learned those cameras were down near the scene of a murder outside a west side rec center.
We also revealed many days when police had no one working in the unit to watch the cameras or look back at them.
The I-Team has learned the big break in the officer’s case did come from a camera, but it was one in Solon.
The camera in Solon reads license plates and alerts police to cars tied to crimes and suspects. That license plate reader spotted the car stolen from the officer.
Then, Richmond Heights Police finally stopped the car and made an arrest.
That led to the bust of the suspected killer, 18-year-old Tamara McLoyd.
But, what good are the city cameras if, so often, they’re not working?
Chairman of the City Council Public Safety Committee Mike Polensek said, “We want more cameras, but we want them working.”
Polensek now plans to ask questions about this at city hall.
“We’ve got $4 million in the pipeline for more cameras, but we have to be assured that the existing cameras are working,” he said.
The city released a statement. Sg. Jennifer Ciaccia said, “We do not provide status reports about camera locations and which cameras are up or down due to Ohio Revised Code 149.433 relating to exempting security and infrastructure records. The Real Time Crime Center daily reviews the cameras as part of its day to day operations, in addition to the City’s staff members who regularly check the cameras and any outages are reported to the Video Surveillance Vendor for Service and Maintenance.”
Yet, police radio recordings indicate that cameras were down the night the officer was attacked. Multiple sources tell us more than one camera in that area was not working.