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City council passes legislation to allow increased police presence, cameras at Columbus parks

Mayor Andrew Ginther proposed the legislation earlier in the day in response to multiple shootings at parks in the last month.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Council has voted to allow additional overtime for police officers during summer months and temporary lighting and security camera systems at city parks.

Mayor Andrew Ginther proposed the legislation earlier in the day in response to multiple shootings at parks in the last month.

“Summer is traditionally a time of higher crime, so we need to do all we can to keep our residents safe,” Ginther said. “Additional staffing during weekends and well-lit parks are part of a sweeping plan to prevent crime this summer.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Fraternal Order of Police will allow the city to pay sworn officers to work Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The city says this would allow up to 40 additional officers in high-visibility areas to assist regularly scheduled patrol.

The extra patrol will last from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

More lighting and security cameras will also be put in place at more than 20 city parks within three weeks.

The city will use up to $500,000 to enter an agreement with Street Smart Rentals, LLC for the rental of temporary lights and security camera systems.

The locations were not listed in the ordinance. 10TV has reached out to the City Recreation and Parks Department for a list of the locations.

On Sunday, 10TV spoke with Remy. He said the cameras will be mobile and can be placed in different locations if needed.

"We want to make sure that our neighborhoods, our neighbors, our residents, they feel comfortable and safe coming into our parks,” said Remy.

Remy said adding these safety measures will help capture evidence and make arrests if something happens.

"Sometimes when you see that blue light and that camera, that can see blocks away because they're high definition, it might deter you and make you go in a different direction,” he said.

Remy added work is underway to get permanent cameras in August.

Brian Steel, the executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9, said the organization appreciates the efforts to keep Columbus parks safe.

There have been shootings at four city parks this year, with the most recent one coming on May 14 at Weinland Park which injured an 8-year-old girl.

On May 4, a 19-year-old man was killed and a 17-year-old was injured at Westgate Park. 

On April 23, a 19-year-old man died in a shooting at Nafzger Park on April 23.

That same day, a 20-year-old woman was also killed at Saunders Park. A pregnant woman was also injured in that shooting.

On May 16, Mayor Andrew Ginther said he is frustrated with the recent shootings but contended the parks are still a safe place for families to enjoy.

“It's really important for us to remain vigilant about keeping each other safe.  The city and our safety is worth fighting for,” Ginther said.

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