Project Guardian brings cameras, better security to Harrison County parks

Harrison County begins surveillance camera installation in parks

CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - If you’re planning a visit to Hayswood Park in Corydon, Indiana, be prepared to be caught on camera. The county now has cameras covering the nature preserve with the goal of catching criminals and preventing crime.

"Not just as a prosecutor but as a dad of three little kids, I understand the importance of having your kids be able to go to the park and not just enjoy their time but be safe with it," said Harrison County, Indiana Prosecutor Otto Schalk.

The cameras in Hayswood Park are part of a larger program for the county called Project Guardian. Schalk said the idea for it came after the tragic murders of two girls, Abby Williams and Libby German, in Delphi, Indiana in February of 2017 where a blurry photo of the man believed to be their killer is police’s best clue.

“And certainly the tragedy that happened in Delphi two years ago, you know it really reminded us that there is evil in this world. And it also reminded us that a camera is only useful if it has a high resolution, it can capture with crystal clarity images,” Schalk said.

Cameras at Hayswood Park in Corydo, IN will help detour crime, the Harrison County prosecutor hopes.
Cameras at Hayswood Park in Corydo, IN will help detour crime, the Harrison County prosecutor hopes. (Source: Rachael Kra)

The cameras allow the county to monitor the parks using Wi-Fi, monitored by law enforcement. The cameras are only in Hayswood Park right now but the plan is to get them in place into all 13 county parks.

“And we do have several remote parks, some of them are small. So the camera systems will let us figure out when we have a problem occurring so we can notify the authorities,” said Larry Shickles, Harrison County Parks Board President.

Some of Hayswood Parks’s cameras are easily seen, others are hidden as they monitor the 500-acre nature preserve in sharp detail both day and night. The video recordings are kept for a month and the data stored in the cloud. The footage can be a big help for prosecuting crimes.

The cameras feed back to the police in real time.
The cameras feed back to the police in real time. (Source: Rachael Kra)

“When I have a high definition video of you with a needle in your arm, sitting next to a playground, it certainly makes proving it that much easier,” Schalk said.

And you’re not paying for it, the funding comes from money seized from drug dealers. It will take time to get Project Guardian up and running but Schalk said he believes this will deter and prevent crimes in their parks.

“This is some proactive steps we can take to better our community,” Schalk said.

“It makes our families feel safe, it makes parents feel safe when they’re here with their kids,” Shickles said.

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