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Surveillance system proving effective for law enforcement

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MT. VERNON (WSIL) -- The Mt. Vernon Police Department installed more than 40 surveillance cameras late last year, and they say, they are already paying off.

The department invited News 3 for a look at incidents caught on camera that saved them time, and resources, moving cases forward.

"In this case, they had reported that they were hijacked," said Assistant Police Chief Robert Brands, as he played a video of a vehicle crashing into the back of another, and provides their reason was that, "A person jumped in the back of their car with a gun, told them to drive."

Turns out, they were shooting a paint-gun out their window and not paying attention to the road, said Brands, adding, "That saved us a lot of man hours and investigations, in investigating a hijacking that didn't occur."

City leaders say the system works and they are committed to increasing their numbers to create a stronger network.

"They're a great equalizer and they're going to make sure the truth is told about something that happens when it's filmed," said Jefferson County's State's attorney Sean Featherstun. Without discussing the specifics of active cases, he says the evidence the cameras collect is invaluable and already proving to be an effective source of information in prosecuting criminal cases. "On major violent crime, we really just want people to be deterred from committing them in the first place. We don't want to be prosecuting crimes, we want people know the cameras are there, and not commit them."

Mt. Vernon Police Chief Trent Page said they plan to add another 15 cameras in the current fiscal year, and plan to continue adding more each year.

Joe Rehana

Victoria Idoni

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