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Washington Police Department to begin community camera program

A security camera is seen mounted on the side of a house in the Wellington Heights neighborhood in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A security camera is seen mounted on the side of a house in the Wellington Heights neighborhood in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

WASHINGTON — Residents and business owners in Washington have an opportunity to assist local law enforcement with a new program that will allow police to potentially use footage found on security cameras to stop criminals.

Washington Police Department Chief Jim Lester said the program has been successfully utilized in other counties in Iowa and felt the holiday season would be the perfect time to implement it locally. Anyone with a security camera outside their home or business who would like to be involved can sign up on the city’s website, where they will be asked to include the person’s name, address, phone number and email.

When a crime occurs, Lester said the officers will be able to go into the system and see which community members in the area have surveillance equipment. The owner will then be contacted and officers will request to check the footage for a certain date and time. Lester said signing up for this program will not allow the department access to the footage. It will allow the department to know who in the area has footage and it will up to the owner to decide whether to assist officers.

Lester said all information will remain confidential and community members can request to have their name taken off the list at any time.