Security cameras expected to be installed by April
The program to bring surveillance cameras to The Woodlands is officially a go after an interlocal government agreement between the township and Montgomery County was approved in late January by county commissioners.
The surveillance agreement was part of the Jan. 29 consent agenda for the Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court and was approved unanimously along with several other items. The Woodlands Township Board of Directors had already agreed to have the cameras placed in the township in November, 2018, after a request for cooperation with the project was submitted by Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security officials.
Darren Hess, director of the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the agreement is part of a broader program to enhance public safety at locations and events around the United States, including in The Woodlands. The cameras will be typical outdoor surveillance cameras with long, focal lenses. The cameras will not record any audio or sounds, only photographic images, Hess noted.
In an email interview on Friday, Feb. 15, Hess said the new cameras will be installed sometime in the first quarter of 2019, but he declined to give a specific date for installation.
Hess also declined to provide any other details about the cameras, but stressed that the cameras will not always be activated and they would be turned on for special events in The Woodlands where safety and security issues warranted surveillance.
“(The) Number (of cameras being installed) and locations are not released,” Hess stated in an email.
In a November 2018 interview, John Powers, assistant general manager for community services with The Woodlands, said the cameras are solely a project of the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the township is merely complying with a request to beef up security measures around specific areas of the township.
“We are just letting them install their (surveillance) cameras on light poles in the Town Green Park and along the Woodlands Waterway, the active event centers where a lot of people congregate,” Powers explained in November. “(They’ll be placed) Where festivals and special events occur. On the waterway, they will be installed between Grogan’s Mill Road and Six Pines Drive.”
The agreement between Montgomery County and The Woodlands includes provisions guiding the installation and other details of the cameras and their use. The deal is for four years with automatic renewals on a yearly basis. The Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will install and set up the camera network, as well as provide any routine maintenance needed. In addition to those guidelines, township staff are prohibited from interfering with the cameras in any manner, including obscuring them, turning off the power to the cameras or other activities that would impede the camera’s functioning.