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Focus on high-tech cameras in S.C.


When it comes to security cameras, Columbia wants a Cadillac on a Volkswagen budget.

By Adam Beam
The State

COLUMBIA, S.C. — City of Columbia mulls buying lower-cost surveillance system that can be upgraded later

When it comes to security cameras, Columbia wants a Cadillac on a Volkswagen budget.

City Council members have their eyes on a $7 million system that would include cameras that can hear gunshots, have night vision and even dial 9-1-1 -- they just don't want to pay for all of it. Yet.

The compromise is to spend about $2.5 million to install a system that can be upgraded in the future when money becomes available.

"We can cookie-cut all future add-ons," said Vincent Simonowicz, information technology director for the city. "We can scale it to whatever money is available."

Council members tried to find federal funding for the project -- including a $500,000 grant -- without success. Mayor Bob Coble said the city plans to pay for the cameras out of money from its general fund.

At its last council meeting of 2007, members voted to approve the scope of the project, which included

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