Tampa, Fla. has five surveillance cameras watching traffic downtown, but next year's Republican National Convention could bring hundreds more on the street and in the sky.
According to a TampaBay.com report, city officials are interested in:
• 164 cameras able to read a number 3 inches high at 300 meters in the day and identify people and vehicles at 100 meters in the dark. Many of these would be mounted on light poles.
• Two "unmanned aerial vehicles" that could hover for 20 minutes, fly in 20-knot winds and carry cameras with zoom lenses or thermal imaging capabilities.
• 20 helmet cameras with 2 1/2 hours of recording time to document crowd disturbances.
• Six trailer-mounted mobile cameras on booms that rise 20 feet or more, six more breadbox-sized cameras for covert use around high-risk activities, and four cameras that could read license tags in six lanes of traffic at speeds of 100 mph.
The money to buy or lease the equipment is expected to come from a congressional appropriation for convention security, the article says, but Tampa police will not necessarily get all 238 cameras on the list. "Depending on many factors, including cost and the availability of other resources, the city could look at using more officers and fewer cameras or fewer officers and more cameras," the article says.
Convention organizers expect up to 10,000 protesters to converge on Tampa during the convention on Aug. 27-30.
Tampa plans to provide enhanced security surveillance for 100 to 200 sites during the convention. The city wants the system to record video around the clock and retrieve the images quickly, if necessary. The cameras must be in place, with all training completed, by May 1, the article says.
Whether the cameras remain in place after the convention will depend largely on the cost of maintenance and support.