CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The City of Clarksburg held a conference session Wednesday to discuss the proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2021 through 2022.
During a city manager presentation, and discussion was held on new body cameras for police, including a drone. Chief of Police Mark Kiddy said the department currently has body cameras, but the newest type offers pre-record features.
“Harrison County will be the first agency to have this drone for use. It will assist the police department, fire department, code enforcement; we will use it to locate encampments in the city,” Kiddy said.
Police said they would be able to use the drone during the day and at night with thermal imaging capabilities assisting in many different situations.
“The body cameras are to protect everybody, both the police officer and the public because you have the body cameras and you also have the cameras in the car, and they’re all linked together,” said Ryan Kennedy, Mayor of the City of Clarksburg.
Kennedy said that this would help where an allegation is made on an officer that there will be footage of what happened.
“The drone is really going to be a game-changer for us because it gives us the opportunity to get an eye in the sky without putting any humans at risk. We can fly the drone into places that maybe we cannot get on foot very easily or places that are not very safe for a human being to go. We can fly them into places and get real-time footage about what is going on there,” Kennedy said.
Also, the mayor expressed that they are encouraging the residents to report any criminal activity that they see to the authorities. The city said they are dedicated to the expanded police department investigating crimes and enforcing the law.
“We want Clarksburg to be a safer place. And obviously, we can’t deal with stuff we don’t even know about. And the first step is for us to know about it,” Kennedy said. “The public could contact their elected representatives down in the legislature to make some changes in the laws because some things are kind of handcuffing our police a little bit, in some things about trespassing and things like that. There is room for improvement there.”
Clarksburg Police Chief Mark Kiddy said that the citizens do a good job letting them know what issues are going on in the neighborhoods.
“The City has taken a more active approach in addressing the housing and the homeless problems. And I think it will take some time, as we all say it takes a while to get like this, and it will take a while to get, get things straightened up. And hopefully, with the demolition programs and the extra patrols, and checking some of these demoed houses and vacant houses, we can get to that point,” Kiddy said.
Much of the budget session was the discussion on how to use the city’s funds to make the communities a better place for the residents.