The Pullman City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night authorizing the use of a $300,000 grant to pay for installation of security cameras at public locations in the city.
The grant, awarded to the police department, is part of the "Smart Policing Safety Camera Initiative Project" and is effective for two years. The city hopes the cameras will both detect crime and shorten response time in case of emergencies.
Councilor Nathan Weller said he doesn't like the idea of extra surveillance, but supports the project to prevent future incidents.
"It's important to realize with the growth of Pullman and WSU, and more people staying in town, urban growth has its inherent benefits and challenges," Weller said.
Councilor Keith Bloom was against installation of cameras, saying accepting a government grant like that is like "taking money out of my pocket and giving it right back."
"And at this rate that they're putting cameras everywhere, one day they'll be in our bedrooms," Bloom said.
Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said the cameras will be primarily used to identify criminals and watch footage of crimes occurring, as felony assaults are not unheard of in Pullman. Councilor Bill Paul agreed and said sometimes students get blamed unfairly, and maybe crime in the city is committed by more non-students than residents realize.
In other business:
- The council approved two resolutions that, combined, allow Washington State University to pay to wrap at least 10 Pullman Transit buses - and perhaps all 18 - in a type of mylar fabric containing WSU "indicia." The designs are not meant for advertising, said Public Works Director Mark Workman, but are a decoration to display the connection between the city and university. The wraps will be created by Speedpro Imaging in Spokane and are expected to cost $141,000 for the 10 buses. Workman said WSU will completely reimburse the city for the cost of the wraps and hired services. The finalized wrap design is anticipated to be unveiled at the WSU Homecoming game Oct. 15.
- Council members passed an ordinance revising boundaries of the three wards of Pullman. Under the ordinance, the number of people in the three districts are within nine residents of each other, which is as closely split as possible, said Planning Director Pete Dickinson. The approved ordinance will transfer part of Ward 3 to Ward 2 in the area around Upper Drive and Orchard Drive on College Hill, and certain blocks would be moved from Ward 3 to Ward 1 in the area around Crestview Street and Spring Street on Pioneer Hill. Ward 1 will consist of 9,934 people, Ward 2 will have 9,937 and Ward 3 will have 9,928 people, based on Census numbers.
Kelli Hadley can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 234, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.