Council Approves Camera Registry to Assist MPD

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Marlow City Council, members heard from Officer Jordan Jones of the Marlow Police Department regarding an agenda item that, if approved, would implement a camera registration program for the City.

Officer Jones said that with increased incidents of break-ins and vandalism within City limits, MPD is utilizing too many resources to identify businesses and private residences that have security camera footage available. The voluntary camera registration program would provide a database of those with cameras so that law enforcement could contact them in investigations.

“With the number of crimes going on in our city, even in the past three months I’ve worked, several cases would have been easier if I didn’t spend four or five days hunting down cameras [that might have footage of suspects],” Officer Jones said. “[We] came up with the idea to have a solely volunteer-based way to register cameras at residences and businesses.”

Officer Jones said that those with cameras could fill out a form on the City website or at the Municipal Building that would identify the owner of the camera, the address, a brief description of what the camera footage could show, and contact information for MPD’s use in investigations.

The information will only be available to the police department and dispatch, so that officers can quickly determine if a privately-owned camera might contain footage that would aid in identifying a suspect or performing an investigation.

Officer Jones said that even if a camera is registered, releasing the footage to law enforcement would continue to be voluntary.

“The owner of the camera can contact the company and email us the footage,” Officer Jones said. “We’re trying to identify clothing, male or female, cars…and then we will use the footage with their approval in the case to build evidence against the suspect.”

Officer Jones said that interest in the concept was building in the community and there were already multiple businesses and residents who agreed to participate in the registry.

Councilmember Joe Marcano said that he felt the registry would assist law enforcement, and that he would volunteer to participate.

“I don’t have a security camera at my house…but going over this information in the packet, I think I will get one and register it,” Marcano said.

Officer Jones said that registry information would be kept confidential, so those participating could choose whether or not MPD could visit their home or business to retrieve the footage.

“Most cameras, you can access on your phone,” Officer Jones said. “We can meet them anywhere.”

Mayor Jeff Prater emphasized that the registry is completely voluntary.

“This is just a total volunteer thing to help you help the police,” Prater said.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the implementation of the camera registration program.

In an interview after the meeting, Officer Jones elaborated on his motivation in proposing the registry.

“Our increase of burglaries, people breaking into vehicles and breaking into houses, obviously a lot of people don’t have cameras in all of their vehicles or in an abandoned house but their neighbor might,” Officer Jones explained. “It takes a lot of our time and effort that we could be pursuing the suspect and getting a warrant instead of searching for cameras.”

Officer Jones said that the program would be implemented immediately and that residents would receive information about how to participate in their next City bill.