Security cameras installed at field

Gloversville police are seeking information from the public regarding damage to the Littauer grass turf field on Union Street that was reported to police on Aug. 5 Police say the damage, shown on Aug. 7, is consistent with a vehicle doing "donuts" on the field.

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council has approved the purchase of two surveillance cameras to be installed at Littauer Field about a week after the field was vandalized.

“I had been working on quotes for cameras at Myers Park and Littauer Field for the 2019 budget and incidentally we had an act of vandalism at Littauer Field a week or so ago,” Police Chief Marc Porter said during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting. “We’ve seen the need for cameras there anyway.”

City Police responded to Littauer Field on Union Street on Aug. 5 around 9:30 a.m. after damage to the field consistent with a vehicle doing “donuts” on the grass football field was reported. The field is used by the Little Huskies youth football program.

A canvass of surrounding houses produced a witness who observed the vehicle responsible for causing the damage on Aug. 4 around 5:30 p.m.

The witness described the vehicle to police as an early 2000s model Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable, gold or silver in color, with a spoiler on the trunk lid. The vehicle was reportedly operated by a female and had several additional occupants.

Police put out a call for information to the public following the incident. Lt. Brad Schaffer said today the investigation is ongoing and officers are continuing to follow up on leads that had been provided.

Police previously conducted a site assessment at Littauer Field before the recent vandalism, recommending the installation of a panoramic camera similar to the one at Darling Field that would cover the field itself and the press box, as well as a second camera covering the clubhouse, parking area and the entrance to the field along Union Street.

“We’ve had problems on the field, we’ve had problems at the building with graffiti, we’ve had people in there, we’ve found drug paraphernalia in the past, we’ve found remnants of people that may have tried to start a fire on different parts of the field, there’s been issues there over the whole course of my career,” Porter said.

Porter provided a price quote of $6,421.36 to the council for the installation of two surveillance cameras at the field. Included in the cost would be a localized recorder that would store surveillance footage for retrieval by officers, a surge protector, a heated lock box for the recorder that would be stored in the field house and the cost of installation.

“There has been some recent acts, it’s one of the few recreation areas we have for our children, it’s consistent with what we’re doing with cameras in other places and the fact that football is just underway there, I think the timing is right if we have the funding to do it,” Porter said.

Porter has made the installation of surveillance cameras at city parks and other public spaces a priority for his department as a deterrent to crime and an investigative tool.

This year cameras were installed at Darling Field and the Elk Street Playground in May and Wohlfarth’s Pond and the Transit Authority to monitor the tractor trailer parking area earlier this month.

Porter said he met with Commissioner of Finance Tammie Weiterschan to discuss financing the cameras prior to the meeting and she informed the council of available revenue generated by city auctions held in 2015-16 currently in the unclassified fund that had not been transferred to the general fund amounting to about $15,000.

“This, I think, could certainly come from there,” Weiterschan said.

“It certainly would be cost effective, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of expenditure for the benefit,” Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis said.

The Common Council approved a motion authorizing Weiterschan to perform a budget modification, transferring the necessary funds for the purchase of the two surveillance cameras for Littauer Field, by a vote of 5-0. Third Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth Batchelor and Fifth Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.