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Keeping watch on Lackawanna County parks

Authorities in Lackawanna County hope the added safety measures will help curb crime in popular recreation areas.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — The Lackawanna County commissioners have approved using about $950,000 in federal funding to purchase equipment to monitor the four county parks: McDade, Aylesworth, Covington, and Merli-Sarnoski. Cameras with 360-degree views will be installed along with equipment to track vehicles going in and out.

"License plate readers, so this way we can scan who's coming into the park," explained Mike Brown, the county's acting IT director. "Sometimes when you actually have these child abductions, this is kind of one of the first responses that you can actually get, hey, we have a flag that this person ended up here."

County parks and rec director Art Moran says installing this equipment has become necessary to ensure the safety of those who visit the county's parks.

"We have had some drug activity which we're monitoring very closely, as closely as we can, and just trying to make it a great experience for everyone that goes there," Moran said.

We found plenty of people at McDade Park who were happy to hear about the upgrades.

"I'm all for it. I think it'll deter a lot that goes on during the day and at night," John Dougher said.

One of the main reasons for installing this equipment is to help the county and law enforcement keep an eye on the parks when the sun goes down.

"We're looking for cooperation with municipal police, so this way, we can send feeds to them at night. Art will be getting alerts, so this way if anybody goes into the park after hours, he can try to contact local services to get either sheriff presence out there or someone out there to take a look," Brown said.

Sheila Jamiolkowski brings her clients to McDade Park often and says safety is always on her mind, and this new equipment will hopefully reassure those who visit the parks.

"I haven't seen any issues here, but like at nighttime, I'm sure that they have some issues around some of the parks, so it really is a good idea."

There's no timeline yet on when the cameras will be installed.

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