District of Kent Municipal hall

District to install surveillance cameras at municipal hall

District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven council members after staff voiced security concerns.

  • May. 12, 2016 2:00 p.m.

Ashley Wadhwani and Vanessa Broadbent

The Observer

Several incidents during the past few years pushed District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven and Council members to consider adding camera security to Municipal Hall during Monday’s council meeting.

The report brought to council stated that concerns have been brought forward by staff members working in the front office, who on occasion have had to deal with irate customers.

One incident resulted in a dead rat being thrown on the front counter whereas another resulted in an angry community member being escorted out of the office by municipal staff.

The cameras will also extend surveillance to the hall’s parking lot, where on one occasion gas was siphoned from a District vehicle during the night.

Councillor Sylvia Pranger noted that the surveillance cameras will also prevent vandalism of vehicles.

“In the past, I know of a lot of cars getting keyed in the parking lot, whether someone is upset or just for the sake of vandalism,” she said, continuing that the report “would be a good to support.”

Monday’s consideration isn’t the first time the idea of adding cameras to the building has been suggested to Council, and Management has reached out to the district’s safety consultant although no recommended improvements have been provided.

The district also previously installed a secure door that is only accessible by a security fob issued to district employees, which has stopped uninvited guests from accessing staff offices in the hall.

The cameras, which the report proposes will cost a little more than $4,500, have already been installed at Public Works Yard, due to vandalism and theft of tools and machinery. Since cameras were installed, the theft has stopped.

Mayor Van Laerhoven stated that he feels that the one-time payment is a reasonable price.

“It’s a fairly minimal amount of capitol to make it happen,” he said. “We have a duty to protect the staff and we have a duty also to see that the public is safe when they come in here as well.”

If cameras were to be installed, they district would have to follow its video surveillance of civic property policy, which requires that video surveillance should be restricted to times when incidents are most likely to occur, as well as conduct an annual review to asses the efficiency of the equipment.

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