New surveillance camera network puts focus on Water Avenue

Published 10:06pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A project that was part of the 2009 voter approved bond issue, is finally beginning to make its appearances around Selma. And, in many places in Selma, you might want to start smiling because you’re on Selma’s cameras.

Monday, Selma Mayor George Evans updated members of the council on the long-awaited project, telling members that all of the fiber optic security cameras are now up and installed and should be operational within the week.

One of the first areas where cameras have been installed will be the Water Avenue area, bringing the busiest part of Selma’s downtown entertainment district under 24-hour police supervision.

“The cameras will show a clear picture of what is going on downtown,” Evans told the council during the update. “There have been lots of problems in that area and at the new bar, Downtown Sports Bar. This is a critical area for the riverfront and gunslingers are going around there and not getting arrested.”

Multiple cameras are planned for not only Water Avenue but other areas of the downtown district.

Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said the area would benefit from the surveillance and increased security in general. He said he — and other parts of the city leadership — are currently discussing additional plans to increase security in the area.

“We are putting a lot of money into the downtown area and we cannot let individuals tear it down,” Riley said. “We have to police the city, we can’t be babysitting the clubs and protecting our citizens.”

Riley also assured that with eight officers who are on duty each night during the 2 a.m. closings of the clubs, the department uses as much manpower in the entertainment area as possible.

There are three security fiber optic cameras now installed along Water Avenue. One that looks towards the Old Depot Museum; another surveys the area by the St. James Hotel and Downtown Sports Bar and another looks down the road towards the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The real-time security footage feeds into the Selma Police Department and if crowds gather, those monitoring the footage will be able to quickly notify on-duty officers.

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