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May 24, 2014

A BRIDGE-SAVVY CITY: Jeffersonville works to ensure safety, transportation ease near Big Four ramp

JEFFERSONVILLE — Although Big Four Bridge is open to both Hoosiers and Kentuckians, the work surrounding the ramp in Jeffersonville is far from finished.

Security Pros, a local company with state-of-the-art security technology, installed 22 temporary surveillance cameras pointing at different angles toward the ramp.

City Safety Manager Amir Mousavi said that most of the cameras had been placed by the time the bridge fully opened Tuesday.

“They’re temporary because there will be some readjustments of things,” he said, citing the angles of the camera as one aspect that may change.

The redevelopment commission approved a $90,000 contract at the end of April with Security Pros for a series of cameras near the bridge and at Big Four Station, a park at the foot of the ramp which will be completed this fall.

Mousavi didn’t want to give away any of the specific locations of the cameras for security reasons.

“We don’t want a criminal to know when they’re being watched,” Mousavi said. “We don’t want them to be able to evade the camera.”

The high-resolution cameras transmit data through a fiber optic network and have motion detection and the ability to issue voice commands in real time.

Mayor Mike Moore said the technology is “not your typical security camera for your home.”

“It’s much more state of the art and pretty darn good coverage,” Moore said.

Permanent cameras will be installed later, though Mousavi isn’t sure exactly when that will be.

“That part of it is really based on the contractors that are working there and the security people,” he said, though he said they will certainly be up and running by the time the park construction is complete.

Employees for the city have been busy keeping the bridge and surrounding areas safe.

Moore said that two police officers patrol the foot of the ramp at all times, with another one roaming the area around Spring and Chestnut streets.

“We’re well covered with manpower, police power and cameras,” Moore said.

He said there have been no incidents in the area since the bridge opened.

In case of a medical emergency on the bridge, Mousavi said fire and police departments plan to use utility task vehicles, or UTVs, to drive up on the bridge.

“The bridge is not as accessible as general roads are, so a fire truck obviously can’t get up there,” he said. “We really didn’t think it’s feasible for firefighters to be carrying equipment if its halfway in the middle of the bridge.”

The UTVs, which were given to the city through a partnership with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, have a backboard, oxygen tank and other equipment needed to get someone to safely to the nearest emergency station or vehicle.

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