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Massena police to use surveillance vehicle

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MASSENA — In a few weeks, village police will have a new tool to fight crime: an unmarked Humvee equipped with high-resolution surveillance cameras to monitor areas of suspected criminal activity.

Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier welcomed the surveillance vehicle as a useful, cost-effective tool to help area law enforcement officers make arrests and more effectively prosecute individuals engaged in felony criminal activities. Mr. Currier said the unmarked vehicle would be used only to monitor and aid in cases against individuals suspected of involvement in crimes related to trafficking illegal drugs.

“Camera technology has been very successful in many communities with helping to address and reduce crime,” Mr. Currier said. “It’s a very cost-effective way of dealing with criminal activity. Cops can’t be everywhere; there’s not enough of us, and it’s expensive.”

The Humvee’s surveillance system will be able to rotate 360 degrees and is vandal-proof and weather-proof and contains night-vision technology, according to Jerry Daoust, sales engineer for NCC Systems Inc. The high-resolution images will be fed to the station for remote viewing.

Mr. Currier hopes the ability to capture suspects committing criminal activities or entering a home where criminal activity such as drug trafficking is known to occur, will help them prosecute repeat offenders.

The addition of the vehicle will have very little cost to the village because the surveillance equipment was purchased through a $5,000 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant secured by state Sen. Joseph D. Griffo, R-Rome. The Humvee was acquired through the Department of Defense excess property program, which provides surplus equipment to law enforcement agencies for use in counternarcotics and counterterrorism activities.

Mayor James F. Hidy welcomed the equipment as a way to clean up Massena’s streets and prosecute and remove the “undesirables” from the community.

“It’s going to play a great role in the community toward ridding Massena of its undesirables,” Mr. Hidy said. “We’ll have an active surveillance of what’s going on in certain parts of town and pinpoint individuals who are selling drugs or buying drugs, and when we have video of these people, we can bring them over to our courts.”

In addition to purchasing the surveillance vehicle, village police have recently completed the installation of seven surveillance cameras at village parks and intersections.

The department funded the cameras through a grant secured by Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa. Five of the cameras are located at intersections and two are at parks.

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