Pines To Explore Surveillance System

OCEAN PINES – Officials in Ocean Pines have tasked General Manager John Viola with establishing best practices for a video surveillance system of all Ocean Pines venues.

Last Saturday, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted unanimously to direct Viola to consult with video surveillance experts in establishing a “best practices” video surveillance system that provides full coverage of the association’s venues. Director Frank Daly said the general manager is tasked with not only obtaining quotes for installing such camera systems, but developing a retention policy for video surveillance.

“The purpose of this is just to develop a retention policy to improve the security and to mitigate the legal risks to the association,” he said. “There are three instances that I am aware of that span over the past three summers where these systems in place would have been beneficial either to the association or to law enforcement for specific incidents that have happened on those properties.”

Daly told board members last week he wanted to see the association implement a surveillance system and video retention policy for alcohol-serving venues within Ocean Pines. Director Stuart Lakernick, however, argued all association venues could benefit from a surveillance system.

“I see this is limited to alcohol-serving venues,” he said. “My thought is we need video surveillance for our town, the skate park, all of our buildings, in addition to this … I’m in agreement with Frank, but I think we need to expand it.”

Association President Doug Parks said he agreed with having a policy for retaining video footage but questioned if it was necessary to consult with surveillance experts. He suggested the association could simply follow county, state and federal guidelines for retaining video.

“The idea of bringing in a video surveillance expert, I don’t know if that’s an actual necessity,” he said. “What I do agree with, is we have to have a policy on retention.”

Daly, however, said a consultant could assist the association in determining where more cameras are needed and how to protect equipment.

“When I did the research on this, there are ways to place video surveillance to protect it from weather – wind, rain, lightning – and intentional damage like vandalism,” he said. “Typically the people that sell this equipment have that expertise.”

Daly added that the association could look into expanding its surveillance system for all Ocean Pines facilities.

“I would say get more information on what it would take and what it would cost,” he said. “That’s what this whole motion is about.”

Association President Doug Parks questioned if the motion should be tabled.

“Would it make sense to table the motion with the intent of getting the information so we can look at it at the next meeting?” he asked. “Or do we accept the friendly amendment to not just alcohol-serving venues, but all identified venues? I’m leaning toward getting more information and crafting this motion so that it’s more succinct.”

Director Colette Horn agreed.

“I think the issue of coverage is an important one, but I think it needs to be well thought out,” she said. “What coverage are we seeking? In the kitchens? Conference rooms? Hallways?”

Daly, however, said the original motion gave the general manager the authority to explore surveillance systems at any association venue.

“If John comes to us and says, ‘Hey look, this is how we do the alcohol venues but we should also do the North Gate Bridge and skate park and some other areas,’ I believe he has license to do that in this motion because he’s coming back to us at the next meeting with a recommendation and a policy,” he said. “I’d say he has that license right now.”

After further discussion the board voted to amend the motion to explore surveillance systems for all Ocean Pines venues, not just alcohol-serving facilities. The amended motion passed unanimously.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.