Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Department upgrading security camera system, coverage

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 7, 2021

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Department is updating its departmental security camera system for increased security for officers and the public.

Deputy Public Safety Director John Hutchins said that the existing camera system will be upgraded from analog to digital, will include a large monitor for the dispatching area and a new video server, and will add 14 more cameras to cover areas that hadn’t been fully monitored by cameras before, such as some exterior parts of the building, garages, department hallways, the municipal courtroom and court office, the jail cell, and the fire division. The addition will bring the department’s number of security cameras to 30, Hutchins said.

The Farms City Council voted unanimously in favor of a price quote from Grosse Pointe Woods-based Simply Technology to purchase the new system for $16,555 during a meeting March 8 by Zoom.

All three of the price quotes obtained for the department from local vendors varied by only a few hundred dollars, and Hutchins said Simply Technology submitted the middle bid. He recommended them for approval because Simply Technology installed Village Food Market’s video camera system, which Farms detectives are familiar with.

“Their system was impressive,” Hutchins said of Simply Technology.

Before updating the video camera system, Hutchins said, the department consulted with Michigan State Police.

“(They) said the No. 1 thing a lot of departments are lacking is an adequate number of cameras in and outside of the building,” Hutchins said. “We found approximately 14 areas that needed more camera coverage.”

He said the decision to upgrade the camera system was motivated by an incident last year in which a prisoner died while in the jail cell of the Harper Woods Public Safety Department.

City Councilman John Gillooly, an attorney who represents a number of municipalities — including Harper Woods — said that he’s “a firm believer” in adding cameras to accurately capture what transpires inside and outside of municipal facilities.

“I think it’s critical these days,” Gillooly said.

The bid is higher than the $8,500 that had been budgeted for this expenditure, but Hutchins said the original proposal didn’t include the additional cameras, a new and larger server, or the acquisition of higher-resolution 8-megapixel cameras.

Hutchins said Detective Lt. Antonino Trupiano took the lead on acquiring the price quotes and determining where the department’s needs were.

City Councilman Neil Sroka said he was glad to see the city was purchasing higher-quality cameras and increasing its server capacity.

“This protects both the police and those who are in our lockup,” Sroka said.

Mayor Louis Theros said he was impressed by the department’s initiative when it comes to improving safety and security.

“You guys took a proactive look at this,” Theros said. “We’re doubling our (camera) coverage.”