The North Royalton City Council defeated the legislation that would allow for the installation and leasing of 15 plate-reading cameras at its April 19 meeting. The measure went down 4-2, with Ward 1 Council Representative John Nickel and Ward 3 Council Representative Joanne Krejci casting the only affirmative votes. Ward 4 Council Representative Jeremy Dietrich was absent.
The ordinance was introduced by Ward 6 Rep Mike Wos and Ward 4 Rep Jeremy Dietrich at the March 15 meeting, that would have authorized the Mayor to enter into a 24-month agreement with Flock Falcon Cameras, Installation and Professional Services for fifteen Flock Falcon Cameras, for an annual amount not to exceed $41,250.00, and an annual cost of $37,500.00. Originally, the city was looking at 26 cameras.
The Cloud-based Flock Safety system is designed to take and store two photos of each vehicle that passes under its camera, one of the back of the vehicle for vehicle recognition and the other of the license plate. The pictures, date, time and location are then stored on a server by a firm that Flock Safety has contracted. During that time, agencies who subscribe to the Flock Safety system can access that information, according to North Royalton Police Chief Keith Tarase.
The measure was discussed originally in the Council Safety Committee meeting, then forwarded onto the City Council agenda. It was then sent back to the Safety Committee for further discussion. The final discussion took place on April 19. Several residents weighed in on the measure, on both sides of the argument. One resident asked Council members and the Mayor if they viewed, in person, how the system is working in other communities. None said that they had done this. Several residents supported the system, saying that they felt it would enhance the safety in the City. One resident asked for a trial run of the system, starting off with fewer cameras and then re-assessing in time.
Ward 2 Council Representative Linda Barath, Ward 5 Council Representative Dawn Carbone-McDonald and Ward 6 Council Representative Mike Wos all noted that the feedback from their constituents were against the cameras. Ward 1 Council Representative John Nickell said that he had received about fifteen calls, most against the measure, but then noted that “most people who don’t care or are for an issue don’t bother to call.” Several Council members felt that this option was something they would like to see. Tarase noted that they originally wanted 26, but then reduced it to 15. He said that with North Royalton being 21.33 square miles, that going to a smaller number would not be effective. “It would be hit or miss as to solving a crime.” Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz concurred, stating that it would be an effective alternative.
When asked if the administration would re-introduce legislation asking for a smaller number of cameras, Antoskiewicz responded by saying that he would not, as he re-affirmed his statement on the inefficiency of a smaller number of cameras.

Contributing Writer