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Dubuque officials may link city, county, school cameras

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Dubuque officials are considering linking security camera networks owned by the city, its schools and the surrounding county with the goal of helping first responders during emergencies.

Dubuque Community Schools proposed the idea in light of recent school shootings, District Technology Director Coby Culbertson told The Telegraph Herald.

"We thought it would be wise to have this extra safety feature," Culbertson said.

A new server could give emergency responders access to the cameras, said Nathan Gilmore, Dubuque County information technology superintendent. Officials would be able to select which cameras are included in the system, he said.

"There are hundreds of cameras in the county, and they could be a valuable resource for law enforcement," Gilmore said. "Having that instant sight can be really beneficial."

As of last fall, the city had about 1,000 cameras monitoring city parking lots, buildings and traffic at various intersections.

"They have been instrumental to solving crime, so having access to all these other cameras should have the same effect," Sheriff Joe Kennedy said.

While the program could make the county safer, County Supervisor Dave Baker emphasized that the program would be used for security purposes only and not for surveillance.

The school district's technology director, Coby Culbertson, said he's working with city and county officials to determine if the proposal could work by testing the system on certain cameras.

City officials will likely conduct tests this summer, said Chris Kohlmann, the city's information services manager. County, city and school officials will then create a draft plan, which would be considered by county supervisors, City Council members and school board members.

If testing is successful, other institutions could be added to the program, such as local colleges, Gilmore said. The estimated cost for the project hasn't yet been determined, he said.

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