Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Cameras being installed to curb vandals in Rockville

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:09 AM EDT

VERNON — Security cameras are being installed in the downtown Rockville section of town at the Vernon Regional Adult Basic Education building at 33 West Main St. in response to a rash of vandalism and graffiti in the area.

Deputy Mayor Diane Wheelock said Tuesday that the 19 participating towns in the regional education program, including Vernon, would collectively pay the $4,500 price tag for the cameras.

The school, which primarily runs on grants and support from the participating towns, serves 80 to 100 people daily offering adult enrichment courses, English classes for foreign born students, and high school completion programs.

According to Vernon Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Rebai, the cameras “will only be used as a source of backup in the event of an incident and will not be continuously monitored.”

In January Richard Tardiff, regional supervisor of the adult education program, went before the council to request funding for the cameras, saying they would not only protect students, but also residents and anyone visiting the downtown area.

The matter was referred to the council’s public safety committee, which Wheelock chairs.

Wheelock told the council Tuesday that the committee sent the request to the school board to find funding sources since it was an education program. The committee also asked Police Chief James Kenny if there were other areas in town that could benefit from surveillance cameras, she said.

Rockville High School and Vernon Center Middle School already have lenses pointed to the parking lots there.

Kenny told the committee that cameras would also be useful in the parking lots behind Town Hall and the Senior Center and at the rear of Center 375 where some have thrown their trash into town Dumpsters, Wheelock said.

“That’s larceny,” Mayor Jason L. McCoy, a lawyer, said in response. “Just for information, anybody who does that could be arrested.”

As for the adult education building, Tardiff said that graffiti and vandalism has primarily occurred on the lower levels off the side parking lot. The area has always been a magnet for petty crime because the corner is isolated, Tardiff said.

The cameras will not only provide a measure of safety for students and teachers, but also would be a deterrent for crime in downtown Rockville, he said.

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