Cameras to be set up around Groveport; also fireworks discussion continues


By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Security cameras will soon be installed in 10 locations around Groveport.

“The idea is to build a perimeter around the city,” said Groveport Police Detective Josh Gilbert.

City officials plan to contract with Flock Safety to have the cameras installed and operating sometime this year at a total investment of $63,700. The cost is funded with $33,700 from the Drug Education and Enforcement fund (money generated from seized property in crimes) and $30,000 from the police budget.

The solar powered cameras will be used to track vehicles coming in and out of the city to aid police in the pursuit of criminal suspects.

“It will cut down our investigative and response time tremendously,” said Gilbert.
The cameras are designed to: make license plate recognition; gather evidence and facts about vehicles, not people; alert police of wanted vehicles; help solve crimes; and adhere to all state laws.

The cameras: do not do facial recognition; are not tied to personally identifiable information; are not used to control traffic; and data on the cameras are stored for 30 days and then automatically deleted.

The 10 locations where the cameras will be placed, which are entry and exit points of the city, are: Ebright Road at Grovepointe; 7470 Groveport Road; 4105 Williams Road; 6500 Pontius Road; State Route 317 south of Williams Road; State Route 317 and Alum Creek Drive area; Rohr Road east of Alum Creek Drive; 5500 Groveport Road; 3250 Bixby Road; and the entrance to the Groveport Municipal Golf Course (because the golf course has been subject to recent burglaries).

Fireworks issue
The use of personal use of fireworks continues to be a topic at Groveport City Council.

Originally under the new proposed legislation, which could be voted on at the May 22 council meeting, the city would allow the personal use of fireworks on the third, fourth, and fifth days of July. However, the legislation’s sponsor, Councilman Scott Lockett has since requested the proposed ordinance be amended to allow the use of personal fireworks only on July 4.

“I think that is a reasonable compromise,” said Lockett.

Last November, council rejected legislation, by a 4-3 vote, that would have allowed the use of personal fireworks within the city limits. Because of that action, the city’s existing law banning the use of personal fireworks within the city remained in effect. Mayor Lance Westcamp and council members Jean Ann Hilbert, Shawn Cleary, and Jack Rupp opposed the measure while Scott Lockett, Ed Dildine, and Becky Huston voted in favor of it.

The legislation defeated in November would have made the city consistent with a state law that allows the use of personal fireworks on designated days. It would have allowed individuals to possess consumer grade fireworks and to discharge them on their own property or on another person’s property with permission the following days: New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4, and 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend, Diwali; and New Year’s Eve.

State law permits local governments to restrict the dates and times when individuals may discharge consumer grade fireworks or to impose a complete ban on the use of consumer grade fireworks.

Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert said she remains concerned about the adverse impact of fireworks on people’s safety and its bad effect on animals.

“My stance is still the same,” said Hilbert.

Councilman Shawn Cleary said, even if passed, the new legislation could be impossible to enforce “because of the amount of people who set off fireworks.”

Mayor Lance Westcamp emphasized that the police will do their job and issue citations to those who do not follow the law.

Resident Greg Keller, who spoke on this issue previously, remains opposed to the use of personal fireworks. He told council, “The use of personal fireworks have no place on any day in the community.”

Keller maintained the fireworks are a dangerous safety hazard, particularly in an urban setting with nearby neighbors, and a noise problem. He said the loud noise of fireworks is harmful to military veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and to people’s pets.


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