INDIANAPOLIS - Federal funding for the downtown camera system runs out at the end of March, but the city says the network is too valuable to shut down.
The Department of Public Safety will have to draw from its own resources to pay for the 130 cameras that give police an expanded view of traffic patterns, critical infrastructure and the city's most troubled neighborhoods.
"We've been planning. We knew these funds would dry up," said Valerie Washington, deputy director of the DPS. "We will have to take funds from operations. Hopefully, the feds will release more grant funding."
The camera system gets the biggest workout during special events like Indiana Black Expo, the Mini Marathon and all of the events that tie into the Indianapolis 500.
Each month, the camera system triggers at least 200 police calls for service, and officers and detectives request video of as many as 30 incidents monthly to help with investigations.
The camera network is an invaluable tool for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office when taking camera-generated cases to court.
The DPS says it's too valuable a tool to just let the lens go dark.
"Our officers catch crimes quite frequently. Just watching them, we see drug deals and we're able to share that information with the prosecutor's office," Washington said.
The city plans to use injured officers or those on light duty to monitor the cameras for the time being.
Eventually, DPS would like to add as many as 100 cameras to the network, but for now the goal is just to keep the ones it has up and running.