Ferry terminals to be equipped with surveillance systems

City says cameras have other beneficial uses

Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Surveillance cameras are coming to the Auke Bay ferry terminal and eight other Alaska terminals so the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can keep an eye on anything suspicious.

The federal department is funding the cameras, which will be installed by city governments next month, said Jamie Littrell, spokesman for the state's Division of Homeland Security.

"The more eyes and ears we have in the public ... the more we can make the general public aware of things that look suspicious," Littrell said.

The cost of the systems at each terminal is $50,000 and will be monitored by local governments, Littrell said.

The cameras were on order before the London bombings, which led to an increase in security in the United States. They are part of a continuing attempt to protect Alaska from terrorism, Littrell said.

He said the state division has no credible threats from terrorist groups wanting to attack Alaska.

Juneau emergency projects manager Michael Patterson said the city and Juneau harbor offices were hoping to get security cameras from the state or federal government.

A surveillance system is already in place at Marine Park to watch some of the cruise ship docks.

Patterson said the cameras also are useful for public safety, such as if a person falls into the water.

The cameras are made by Massachusetts company Axis Communications, which develops security systems for other state entities. Special features include built-in motion detection and alarm notification.

Also, the federal government recently gave the city $20,000 to buy Jersey barriers - concrete blocks dividers - to place in front of the Governor's Mansion and the Alaska Capitol in the event of an attack.

• Andrew Petty can be reached at andrew.petty@juneauempire.com.

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