GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A police camera is rolling 24/7 at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids. Installed less than two weeks ago, it’s already doing what it’s intended to do: catch crime on camera.
Grand Rapids Police want the public to know that cameras are rolling, and though there may not always be multiple boots on the ground, officers say they have another set of eyes in the city.
Rockford High School student River Hazekamp said he was hanging with friends in Rosa Parks Circle Tuesday when a fight broke out.
“Every time I’ve been down there, there’s always been a fight,” said Hazekamp.
Seven stitches and a likely broken nose later, Hazekamp said jumping in the middle of punches was not worth it, but he is assured that when he hangs out in this crowded area, he has an extra pair of eyes on his side.
“They do need the cameras down there for people’s safety,” said Hazekamp.
GRPD investigators said their camera captured some of the aforementioned fight, but that video has not yet been released.
GRPD IT Lt. David Schnurstein said the department bought the camera at least seven years ago with grant money. At that time, they did not have the resources to run and maintain the camera, but that recently changed. Just after the 4th of July, GRPD began monitoring Rosa Parks Circle from the roof of the stage.
Lt. Schnurstein is taking advantage of the city’s power and fiber lines that already run through Rosa Parks Circle, a high-traffic public park that GRPD has wanted to monitor for a while now, and Schnurstein said this is a win-win to their camera filming.
"The 4th of July or any special event, you're going to have potentially hundreds of people there, and having the ability to see over the tops of people's heads and see what's going on is very useful,” said Lt. Schnurstein. “You would think that any person of average intelligence would go, ‘Maybe this isn't a good idea to do here.’”
Lt. Schnurstein said the Rosa Parks Circle camera is obvious: GRPD is not trying to hide it and hopes the public realizes they are being recorded. He added that the camera was not installed due to any incidents, just the fact that the large crowds and special events are common in the park.