Grant helps Ascension upgrade video system _lowres

Photo provided by Allison Hudson -- Gathering Jan. 7 for a donation presentation in Gonzales, from left, are Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, Sheriff Jeff Wiley and PCS Nitrogen representatives Garry Hiebert and Misty Bonfanti.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office received Jan. 7 a $75,000 donation from PCS Nitrogen to assist in funding an upgrade and expansion of the remote video system used by the Sheriff’s Office to monitor activity in selected locations in the parish.

“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of this flagship Ascension Parish corporation and all the people of Ascension Parish should join me and thanking PCS for a donation, which will make our parish a safer and secure place to work and live,” Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said.

Wiley said his office has remote cameras to monitor traffic on Airline Highway, La. 73, La. 30 and Interstate 10.

“These cameras have proven to be extremely useful during hurricane evacuations when real-time information is critical to keeping vehicles moving quickly and safely through the Parish,” Wiley said.

Other cameras, Wiley said, are set up to monitor the industrial corridor. He said these cameras have been instrumental in command and control decision making when major incidents have occurred. Having these cameras in place, “allowed us to more safely respond to the incidents and determine what resources and actions need to take place,” Wiley said.

Still other cameras are set up for security purposes at Sheriff’s Office facilities such as the two courthouses and the parish jail.

Wiley said his department recently began to pursue plans to expand the system.

“We recognize the immense value that remote video systems offer in the furtherance of enhancing our ability to provide for the safety and security of the people of Ascension Parish and expansion of our system is a natural evolution,” Wiley said.

The next phase of his plan to expand remote video coverage in Ascension Parish will include additional cameras placed on major thoroughfares and in the industrial corridor and also includes plans to purchase deployable cameras for crime prevention and detection.

Wiley said the cost of the planned video system upgrade and expansion is expected to cost between $75,000 and $100,000 and that in a recent conversation with PCS Nitrogen administrators, they showed interest in making a donation to the Sheriff’s Office to assist in the project.