Marshall County residents may soon rest easier knowing safety cameras are on the job.
With a $20,000 commitment by the Marshall County Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting, that body gave a huge boost to a Marshall County Crime Stoppers’ efforts to install security cameras throughout the county.
But it was County Sheriff Steve Hoffman who made it easier for the supervisors to participate, pledging $20,000 from his department’s 2016-17 budget.
Supervisors Bill Patten, David Thompson, and Steve Salasek all voted for the measure.
Hoffman said Crime Stoppers had enjoyed “incredible” success during its nearly two-year tenure, thanks to county residents, and believes the safety cameras will help deter crime and apprehend criminals.
Crime Stoppers is a national organization offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The crime fighting initiative creates a cash incentive for tipsters to report information – and they can do it anonymously via an online form, text message or telephone call.
Tipsters can submit data pertaining to a potential suspect’s name, address, race, gender, height, weight, age, hair color, scars and marks, tattoos, clothing or animal ownership.
That information is sent to a third-party server before being rerouted to law enforcement.
The cost of installing a basic system of cameras throughout the county is approximately $58,000, according to RACOM, Inc. of Marshalltown.
Crimes Stoppers board member and local businessman Mark Osmundson emphasized the cameras will be used for security and not traffic enforcement.
Earlier this year, the Marshalltown City Council pledged $20,000 from its budget contingent upon similar investments by the supervisors and Crime Stoppers.
Now it is up to the local Crime Stoppers board to raise their $20,000.
“We have money on hand, but it is specifically reserved for tips,” said Osmundson during his presentation to the supervisors where he requested their contribution.
“We will begin fundraising,” he said.
Crime Stoppers board members have been promoting the safety cameras to local governments this year and last.
Rural communities Haverhill, Melbourne and State Center had recently endorsed the project, said Osmundson.
The radio and television station owner said he and other board members hoped to visit other county towns in the near future.
Crime Stoppers board member and Times-Republican General Manager/Publisher and Mike Schlesinger made two presentations to the Marshalltown City Council.
Schlesinger told them the county plan is modeled after Dubuque’s successful initiative.
That city started with a basic system, and due to its popularity, has expanded significantly to include more than 1,100 cameras.
MCCS officers are Todd Steinkamp, chair; Joel Greer, vice chair; Schlesinger, treasurer; Tami Lichtenberg, secretary; and Larry Raymond, fund-raising. In addition to Osmundson, board members are Bettie Bolar, Ellen Bergman, Carol Hibbs, Mike Miller and Carlos Portes and Holly Reimanschneider.
Donations to Crime Stoppers are tax deductible, and can be sent to: 112 W. Church St., Marshalltown, 50158. For more information, visit marshallcountycs.com.
Courtesy of the Marshalltown Times-Republican, Mike Donahey, Staff Writer