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Through the lens: What downtown Fargo security cameras actually see

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - After vandals damaged the public piano display downtown, there are some arguing for better camera coverage of Broadway.

But in fact, six police cameras, with significant views, already patrol downtown.

So what can these cameras actually see downtown?

Tilt the cameras, different angles, and then zoom in on our target.

Fixed cameras are fixed.   At any time of the day or night, Fargo Police can access any of the six cameras that capture downtown city life.

Lt. Matt Sanders- Fargo Police Dept.: “The camera can track a moving item like a car or person.”

Fargo Police officer Matt Sanders and Lt. Joel Vettel walk us through the role these cameras have in not only capturing what is wrong, but preventing it.

Lt. Joel Vettel- Fargo Police Dept.: “A great quality shot and they have been helpful in solving some of our cases downtown… But also I think it serves as a deterrent and people know there are cameras and maybe people stop and maybe take a moment and say, should I be doing this?”

The art piano vandalism was not captured on camera. There was not one posted anywhere close to this specific spot on Broadway and First Ave… And while these can be an option for Fargo Police, nobody takes time to sit down all day and look through the video, unless there is an obvious reason.

Vettel: “It has been a contention for some we are overreaching; that there are some who think there is too much ‘big brother’ and we understand that.”

And while the piano vandalism angered many, there are those hoping the downtown cameras capture shenanigans like this.

“I don't think it is a concern they are watching every move you make or monitoring things they shouldn't.”

 In the meantime, the damaged piano has been replaced by a new set of ivories.

And Lt.Vettel tells us there are no plans to increase the number of police cameras, but a neighborhood association or business group downtown could actually take action to get their own put up. 

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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