City looking at installing cameras in downtown area

The City of Rochelle is looking at the possibility of installing cameras in the downtown area, City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said Nov. 21.

Camera locations to be determined

ROCHELLE — The City of Rochelle is looking at the possibility of installing cameras in the downtown area, City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said Nov. 21.

The main area that’s being looked at is the municipal parking lot and Page Park. 

“I think there's been some issues in the downtown area,” Fiegenschuh said. “Some city council members had some concerns about some property damage and some other things that have gone on back there. At a minimum, if there's ever any issues, we'll have a recorded history of it.”

The city manager said he’s not sure where the eventual cameras would be placed. City staff has been looking into factors such as making sure cameras can be placed on poles with fiber optic cable so there’s enough infrastructure to relay footage to servers.

The city is also reviewing what requirements are for how long footage must be stored. 

“That's a massive amount of data that you're sending back,” Fiegenschuh said. “How long do we have to store it for? I told one of our council members we need to be very careful because if we have to store it in perpetuity, it's going to take up a lot of space on servers. We need to make sure we know what our requirements through the state are through storage retention.”

Fiegenschuh said that he anticipates cameras could be put up in the next few months or in the spring. The cost of cameras will depend on camera type and whether they’re close to fiber optic cable. He doesn’t believe the eventual cost will be “more than a few thousand dollars."

The city manager said he was unsure how common it is for other towns of Rochelle’s size to have cameras of their own. He said it’s possible other locations downtown and in the city would lend themselves well to having cameras installed, but the city isn’t considering other locations right now.

Staff will soon find out how well the municipal lot and Page Park area lends itself to having cameras.

"I don't know if we can even do it in Page Park,” Fiegenschuh said. “We're going to try. The other thing is, even if you have fiber, you have to have a place to install the camera and it has to be in a location where you can actually catch images. If all you can get is bushes or shrubs, it doesn't make any sense. My staff will let me know where they think the best locations are and that's where we'll end up putting them."