Irmo considers traffic cameras

By Al Dozier

Irmo motorists could soon come under the camera.

During a work session on April 4, the Irmo Town Council received a presentation from a service provider of Flock Safety Cameras who would set up cameras on the streets of Irmo. The camera is capable of identifying license plate numbers and other features on a vehicle that would help to identify a motorist suspected of traffic violations or other major crimes.

The use of street cameras is common in towns and cities throughout South Carolina and is credited with reducing crimes. The license plate identifications are often helpful in locating suspects wanted for a crime in another jurisdiction.

Setting up such cameras has strong support from the Irmo Police Department and the practice is supported by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

Town officials said the new cameras would be “a powerful tool” to fight crime and “catch the bad guys”.

Crime problems in the Beacon Hill and Carmel Commons communities have prompted council members to consider new efforts to deal with crime problems.

Council members agreed that several cameras could be installed on busy streets in the Irmo area such as St. Andrews Road and Broad River Road. Initially, the council agreed to consider having two cameras installed to get law enforcement officials familiar with the operation.

The cost of one camera installation was placed at $3,000.

The council also received a presentation by Lumos, a fiber optic provider with plans on locating broadband services in the Irmo area. The company would be competing with other service providers, such as AT&T.

Fiber optics, or optical fiber, refers to the technology that transmits information as light pulses along a glass or plastic fiber.

Lumos provides Optic Internet, Total Home Wi-Fi, voice and streaming services across North Carolina and Virginia. Lumos officials want to provide services to underserved areas in the Irmo area and would need a contract approval from the town of Irmo.

Council members appeared favorable to the project.

The council also discussed the possibility of contracting lobbyist services to help the town identify the various grant and assistance programs that are provided by the state.

Lobbyists familiar with legislative programs and opportunities could find major assistance programs for town projects, such as a new town hall. The estimated cost of a contract was placed at $36,000.

The council also received an update on surveys in the community on what should appear on a new town flag. According to the latest input, the flag should feature the gazebo in the town park, and feature a showing of trees. Irmo is known as a “tree city,” with a popular surrounding of trees throughout the town.

While there was some discussion of featuring a blue heron on the flag, that feature did not get a positive reception. 

The council also heard a request from Universal Community Improvement organization for another $200,000. The town had previously approved $100,000 of the requested $300,000 for the non-profit organization.

The request was on the council’s agenda at the last meeting but didn’t get a second for council consideration. It will be on the agenda again at the next council meeting.

Since the meeting was a “work session,” the council took no official actions on the various agenda items, but could act on them at the next council meeting.