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Cameras will allow virtual tours

Madras Bike and Skate Park

by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - The skate park has cameras and a new sign.


   Imagine that with the click of a button, you can take a virtual tour of the Madras Bike and Skate Park. Or, check to see if your kids are safely maneuvering around the park's deep bowls.
   Four new cameras have been installed at the Madras Bike and Skate Park, located at H and Marshall streets, and are already providing real time images to the Madras Police Department.
   "There are no hidden areas in the park," said police chief Tom Adams, pointing out the four screens which show the skate park, restroom area and parking lot.
   The cameras are part of a system the city purchased last summer, which included eight cameras, a computer server and five wireless transmitters, at a total cost of $42,747.
   The images are currently transmitted to the server at the police department, but eventually, police will be able to monitor the cameras in their police vehicles, and the public will be able to see the images from their home computers.
   City reserve officer Jon Farrester, Web master for the Jefferson County Education Service District, is in the process of setting up the connections for the skate park, and also the two cameras installed at the Grizzly/J Street roundabout.
   "Our hope is that citizens will be able to access the pictures," said Adams. "There will be a lot more eyes watching those areas of town."
   The server is capable of storing the recordings for at least 14 days. "If we had an issue over the weekend, we could go back and review it," he explained.
   Although there haven't been many problems at the skate park since it opened in November of 2005, Adams said the cameras will help prevent problems.
   "It will give us another set of eyes, so we can be one place and watching another," he said.
   City Administrator Mike Morgan foresees additional cameras at the north and south entrances to town, the airport, the City View roundabout, and other locations.
   "I want people to be able to tour Madras by going to our Web page," he said. "Once you have the backbone up, it doesn't cost very much to add more."
   Adams is enthusiastic about the potential for the cameras. "The pictures are clear, they're in color, and we're quite excited for the final installation of the system," the police chief said.