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Home / Articles / News / Local News /  Unpublished City Memo Outlines Security Camera Woes
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Chavez Security Inc holds the contract to install cameras and store video footage.
JUSTIN HORWATH

Unpublished City Memo Outlines Security Camera Woes

The June 16 memo never went public

July 11, 2014, 11:00 am

The city's top Information Technology and Telecommunications official told city councilors almost a month ago that "unforeseen flaws" and "problems" were cropping up in a lucrative bid to install security cameras at parks and parking lots across Santa Fe. 

Thomas Williams, ITT division director, wrote to the Public Works Committee in a June 16 memo that after the city awarded a $253,000 contract to Chavez Security Inc. to install the cameras, "problems related to power availability, network availability and site feasibility surfaced." 

The memo hasn't been made public until now. SFR received it after making a records request to the city. 

CSI began meeting with the city, writes Williams, and the two parties agreed on sweeping changes to the contract that called for cameras pointed at a park that's not yet built, on the private property of St. John's College without the permission of the private institution and at water tank that's located at a wholly different site than the contract specified.

The bid also called for solar panels to power the cameras. City and CSI officials nixed that plan.

"Solar panels could easily be targeted by vandals," writes Williams. "Moreover, relying on these systems for the sole power source could render associated camera equipment inoperable during prolonged overcast periods."

CSI's contract to install the cameras isn't the only contract the private company owned by former city Councilor Peso Chavez has with City Hall. Chavez, also a private investigator, attorney and former mayoral candidate, gets thousands to deploy private security guards across town to protect sites like the Buckman Road Corridor and public buildings.

The contract represents Chavez' first attempt to install cameras as a part of a new surveillance system he developed. The city awarded CSI the contract on April 29, 2013. More than 14 months later, city officials are now saying all the cameras won't be installed until the end of the year.

Now, according to Williams' memo, city staff are requesting an additional $113,950 in taxpayer money to install cameras at four additional sites: the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, the Civic Center, the Transit building on Rufina Street and the city's main library on Washington Ave.

The chairman of the Public Works Committee says he's going to ask Mayor Javier Gonzales and the city manager about why the camera contract isn't complete after 14 months. 

"My concern is you know when are we going to get all these cameras in?" says District 4 Councilor Ro Trujillo.

According to an interview with Williams, likely not until the end of the calendar year. 

Thomas Williams Memo to Santa Fe Public Safety Committee by justinhorwath

 

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