OCEAN CITY – The police department will have extra eyes on the Boardwalk next summer as additional cameras will be installed during the final phase of the Boardwalk’s reconstruction, which will begin this fall.
Ocean City Engineer Terry McGean explained that the funding for a fiber optic network to run the length of the Boardwalk was included in the budget for the Boardwalk Renovation Project. The network will allow for the installation of 10 additional cameras, as well as Variable Message Signs (VMS) and other network-based equipment.
McGean added that the fiber optic cable is being installed as part of the Boardwalk reconstruction contract. The remaining equipment to create the network has been specified by the IT Department. The total cost for the network equipment including servers, video storage systems, fiber connections, switches and 10 cameras is estimated at $76,000 and the funding would come from the Boardwalk renovation bond.
“What we did is during the construction process of Phase 1 and Phase II we did what we call the dark fiber, which is basically putting the cable and the conduit in the ground,” McGean said. “Now what I am requesting today is permission to begin the procurement process for the equipment, what we call light up the dark fiber, which is the servers, the storage equipment, and the switches, etc., to actually make the system hot.”
McGean requested of the Mayor and City Council permission to purchase the server, switches and cameras through Emaryland Marketplace and allow the sole source purchase of an Aberdeen Storage Appliance directly from Aberdeen Servers & Storage Inc., in the amount of $22,000.
Ocean City Converged Network Manager Robert Morand submitted the department has done considerable research evaluating different storage solutions. The storage device chosen from Aberdeen Servers & Storage will give the storage needed to support the town’s current camera infrastructure and for future growth.
“Video tape takes up huge amounts of storage and this is actually the equipment that stores all those images for us so, it is sort of the heart of the system,” McGean explained of the storage device.
McGean furthered that the project will basically provide a network connection all up and down the Boardwalk. The primary reason for it was to install cameras, which the police department has been requesting for a long time, particularly in the northern section of the Boardwalk where their presence is limited.
McGean added that the camera images will also be posted on the town’s website so that webcam visitors can see an expanded view of activity occurring on the Boardwalk.
Also, the costs for the two additional VMS to be installed have already been covered by a Homeland Security grant the town received.
The council voted 6-0, with Councilman Joe Hall absent, to approve the purchases.
“Putting in the fiber optic necessary to install additional cameras along the Boardwalk will be helpful to the police department. We can’t be everywhere all the time and this will help us be able to observe additional areas on the Boardwalk,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “It is also going to allow us to put up the VMS at different locations so we can put out notices and information to the public, and it will allow us to install additional webcams, which the public and our visitors enjoy. That is the number one visited page on our website.”