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CSPD discusses Boston bombing impact on downtown cameras

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Apr 19 2013 06:59:50 PM CDT

Colorado Springs police talk about learning from how cameras were used in identifying the two bombing suspects.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Downtown surveillance cameras in Colorado Springs could assume a bigger role in security after the Boston Marathon bombing.

In Boston, the cameras were instrumental in identifying the two suspects, based on only a general description.  The local downtown cameras are more designed to help find people whose identification already is known.

However, Police Cmdr. Pat Rigdon said his department is thinking about making changes that would allow the system to work the way Boston's did in identifying the suspects.

The problem, however, is resources.  The local system has 10 cameras -- 13 eventually -- each able to record as much as 30 days of video.  But police have only one volunteer to monitor the cameras at any one time.

"It wouldn't be easy," said Rigdon.  "I'm sure it wasn't easy for the folks in Boston to look at hours of video.  It's something we haven't had to do yet.  But it's definitely possible.  If we had to do it, at that point there'd probably be a criminal investigation.  We'd probably have our detectives do it."

Rigdon said police would like to add more cameras, and is considering a partnership in which businesses would buy cameras for the system and possibly have some access to them.  But he said more isn't always better.

"Denver has around 80 cameras," said Rigdon.  "It would become a bit more problematic to try to keep an eye on everything.  Maybe you'd need multiple staff all the time."

Rigdon said his department also will focus more on watching for abandoned backpacks and other suspicious items.  Although the department can't afford to put more officers on patrol, Rigdon said there likely will be more on duty during races, parades and other major events.

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