Warner Robins Police want to make changes to the city's security camera ordinance saying it will help them catch robberies and burglaries.
They want businesses to turn over security camera footage of a crime within an hour of the crime being reported.
Chief Brett Evans says getting their hands on the video quickly is crucial.
He says having something to look at, instead of depending on witness descriptions, gives them a better description to help catch these criminals moments after a crime instead of days later. Especially, when they can send out an accurate and detailed description to on-duty officers all over the city.
The Department says it often takes several hours or even a day to get the video and that's too long.
Michael Collins is Chief Operating Officer at Total Computer Solutions. They install security cam systems and they use a system at their business.
He says an hour might not be enough time.
“It would be difficult. Here's the reason, not everybody that works for the company is going to know how to operate the DVR properly to get the information off it,” Collins said.
Collins says normally only owners and managers have access to those systems. But, he said having instructions next to your equipment and keeping it maintained and secure can make it easier to hand over video quickly.
Collins says he supports the ordinance and what police are trying to do, but two hours would probably work better.
Warner Robins businesses that sell alcohol to go or offer gaming machines must have security cameras and are required to hand over the video in case of a crime.
Chief Evans says immediate access to the video can also help track criminals who target more than one spot.
“They're not just operating here, they're also operating in Bibb County and other counties where they may be doing burglary or robbery in Bibb County and then a burglary or robbery in Houston County. So knowing that you've got the same set of suspects in two different locations is very helpful as well,” Evans said.
The City Council is expected to vote on the amendment at their first September meeting.
Evans says if the ordinance is passed and businesses repeatedly fail to hand over their video within an hour they could lose their city liquor or gaming licenses.
Police also want to change how long video is saved, making it 90 days, and they plan to make other changes so the videos are more accessible to investigators.
Evans said quick access to quality video helped determine a suspect, and later led to an arrest, in the Jus One More double homicide.
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