ShareThis Page

Freeport Road surveillance plan zooms ahead

Chuck Biedka
| Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

PITTSBURGH -- Bids are being solicited to install a wireless surveillance camera network by fall that will stretch along roads between Sharpsburg and Tarentum.

Twenty companies attended a mandatory pre-bid conference on Tuesday. No other companies will be allowed to submit bids, which are due in March.

The public safety cameras should be installed by this fall on bridges and one intersection along Freeport Road, Allegheny County District Attorney Steven A. Zappala Jr. said.

Zappala said the cameras will focus on public areas only.

The DA obtained nearly $300,000 from the Port of Pittsburgh through the federal Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Sharpsburg is contributing about $60,000, and so are most of the other communities.

The network installation is being coordinated by John Hudson, 45, of Beaver, who said he learned the science as an agent for the Secret Service.

Hudson said the money will pay for a nearly 30-camera network on the 62nd Street, Highland Park, Hulton, New Kensington and Tarentum bridges, as well as the intersection of Fox Chapel and Freeport roads in O'Hara. Roof-top cameras there will be able to see Route 28 on and off ramps as well as parts of Freeport Road.

Some of the cameras will able to pan, tilt and zoom.

Others, like some at the Tarentum Bridge, will be able to zoom in on license plates.

"The Henderson case in Ross is an example of how this type of technology will help," Zappala said. Last week, Ross and Hopewell police investigating rapes there got surveillance photos of a dark blue Ford SUV. That photo ultimately led to the arrest of suspect Arthur Lamont Henderson.

"But if we had the license plate technology in place, we might have been able to determine the name of the suspect before the Jan. 9 rape that he is accused of doing," Zappala said.

The surveillance cameras in the Allegheny River Valley will connect to camera networks already working or soon to be installed along the Ohio and Monongahela rivers, he said.

Local police will be able to access the web-based cameras from in-car laptop computers. Emergency dispatchers will be able to use them to rapidly decide if more equipment is needed for fires or accidents within view of the cameras, Zappala said.

Similar cameras networks have been installed in Sheldon Park in Harrison and other Allegheny County public housing communities.

"They have reduced crime there," Zappala said.

"We all need to be smarter on crime," he said. "This network will put more eyes in our communities."

Additional Information:

Where cameras will be installed

Plans for a 29-camera surveillance system from Sharpsburg to the Tarentum Bridge include cameras at:

-- 62nd Street (Fleming) Bridge (connects Pittsburgh and Etna)

-- Highland Park Bridge (Pittsburgh and O'Hara)

-- Both sides of the Hulton Bridge (Harmar and Oakmont)

-- Both sides of the New Kensington (Ninth Street) Bridge (New Ken and Springdale Township)

-- Both sides of the Tarentum Bridge (New Ken and Tarentum)

-- Fox Chapel and Freeport roads intersection, O'Hara

Source: JP Hudson & Associates

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.