RCSO cameras

This new mobile live camera surveillance system can extend 22 feet into the air, according to Richland County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jim Sweat.

MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Sheriff's Office will have an extra set of eyes in the sky for the next year.

County commissioners on Thursday approved a $24,600, one-year lease with LiveView Technologies for a mobile camera system that can extend 22 feet into the air.

Sheriff Steve Sheldon and Capt. Jim Sweat told commissioners the RCSO has been using the technology on a trial basis, including the Ontario 4th of July Festival, the Shiloh Ox Roast and the recently concluded Richland County Fair.

"It's a great camera for security, mainly for events," Sheldon said, adding it would be shared with all law enforcement agencies and fire departments in the county.

"We think it's a huge benefit for law enforcement and fire departments and medical people to better protect the citizens of the county," Sheldon said.

Sweat told commissioners the system has three cameras, two of which are thermal. The system relies on wi-fi and each camera can be operated independently and remotely.

RCSO commissioners

Richland County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jim Sweat (left) and Sheriff Steve Sheldon meet with county commissioners on Thursday morning.

Sweat said the sheriff's contractual services budget has funds to cover the camera system lease. "We are not coming here today asking for more money," the captain said.

Sweat said he believes the camera system made a difference at the county fair.

"The south gate has notoriously been an area where we have problems," Sweat said, "from people trying to get in without paying and fights at the end of the evening. We had none of those issues this year and I think it's the fact people know they are being recorded."

In another usage example, Sweat said, the system could be set up in an area where car break-ins are occurring and provide surveillance video that could be used as evidence if it records suspects.

"This is a great force multiplier," Sweat said. "It can be reviewed from anywhere that has internet access. We would like to try it for a year."

Also on Thursday, commissioners approved a three-year contract with 20.5 Clerk of Courts employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The contract, beginning Oct. 1, sets new starting wages for the department's three classifications of workers and also has a 75-cent per hour pay increase for the first year and 3 percent increases in the second and third years.

The unanimous vote came after an executive session with Clerk of Courts Lin Frary and county human resources director Kelly Christiansen.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"