Surveillance camera system coming to downtown La Crosse - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Surveillance camera system coming to downtown La Crosse

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Downtown La Crosse will be home to a new 35 camera surveillance system this summer, after the La Crosse City Vision Foundation raised more than $450,000 to purchase and install the cameras.

"We felt the police should have their own system to monitor public spaces in downtown," Mike Kiel, a board member of the foundation, said. "These cameras will watch sidewalks, streets, alleys, parking lots and parking ramps. We're not interested in private spaces."

Kiel said the idea of a camera system started after the 2012 double homicide of Paul and A.J. Petras at Mays Photo on Main Street.

"From that event, we saw how hard it was to collect data from private video systems," Kiel said. "It took several weeks for them to get enough information."

The goal of the new system would be in part, to speed up police investigations.

"When you look at some of the more major cases in the city in the past couple of years, video has played a very big role in helping solve those crimes," Asst. Chief Robert Abraham of the La Crosse Police, said. "So I would say in today's day and age video is an important tool for us."

The cameras would be placed as far north as Vine St. and extended down to Cass St.

However, Kiel said the cameras will not be used for traffic control.

"These cameras won't be used to catch speeders and red light runners," he said. "They will be used passively, meaning only after an incident occurs will they refer to the video."

The foundation is finalizing its contractor proposals and installation of the cameras will be within the next couple of months.

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