City invests in 10 more automated FLOCK cameras

By Melissa Martin

Nov. 21 city council meeting

Brecksville City Council authorized the purchase of 10 new FLOCK automated license plate reader cameras at the request of the police department.

Police Chief Stan Korinek told council that the initial 12 cameras installed throughout the city in 2022 have proven invaluable in making arrests and safeguarding the public.

“This system is one of the first things our officers look at as part of a crime investigation,” Korinek said. “Our society is mobile so in most cases [suspects] are either driving to commit the crime or the car itself acts as a rolling crime scene.”

Korinek pointed out several cases in which the cameras, located along prime routes in and out of the city, helped officers solve cases. In February 2022, a suspect committed a crime at a Miller Road business, and the cameras enabled the department to arrest and convict suspect. The same was true in November 2022, when the department received an alert about a vehicle connected to a theft at a Broadview Heights storage facility. Thanks to the cameras, officers located the vehicle with several pieces of stolen property inside.

In December 2022, Korinek said police received a report of a suspect who pickpocketed patrons at a Panera restaurant. With the help of cameras, officers identified the vehicle and the location of the suspects as part of a national pickpocketing ring in Tennessee. The suspect was arrested and charged in Cuyahoga County.

Korinek said on Nov. 1 the department received a call requesting a check of an 86-year-old Greenhaven Parkway man. The caller told police the man, who lives alone, typically calls her several times a day and has heart problems and fall issues. The caller said she hadn’t heard from the man in more than 24 hours.

A neighbor told officers the man left the previous morning in his van. Using a description of the vehicle, police tracked the man’s whereabouts to Brunswick where he had been involved in a motor vehicle crash  and was  hospitalized for his injuries.

“We didn’t have to break down the man’s door, and we were also able to give the caller some relief that the man was safe and in the hospital,’’ Korinek said.

Mayor Jerry Hruby told council he “strongly supports” the FLOCK system.

“We will continue to do well by adding these cameras to other strategic points in our town,” Hruby said.

Korinek said he would like to have upwards of 50 FLOCK cameras, however, it would be cost prohibitive as the cameras each cost the city $2,500 a year to maintain.

He said Brecksville plans to install an additional camera along the city’s stretch of Interstate 77 for a total of three along the highway. The department also plans to post one on Wallings Road near the interstate, which he said is currently a “hole” in the system.

In addition to $3,000 in installation costs, the new cameras will cost the city approximately $50,000 in addition to the annual maintenance fees.

City council presented a proclamation to Brecksville police Detective Brian Scabbo for his part in solving a crime that led to the death of a 20-year-old former Brecksville resident in September 2021.

Korinek said police responded to a drug overdose call, and the victim was transported to the hospital where she died.

“[Brian], with the help of various agencies and task force officers in the area, was able to compile evidence that was used to identify a subject, which ultimately led to the arrest and the indictment of the suspect by a grand jury,” Korinek said.

In the past month, the police chief said the suspect pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter for knowingly selling the drugs that caused the woman’s death and received a prison sentence of more than 7 years.

“I know I took this case personally because I have daughters that age and it ticked me off,” Korinek said. “I know [Brian] took it personally as well. He worked this case to the end and did a great job.’’

Hruby echoed Korinek, saying, “This is investigative work at its highest level. … These cases are so hard because they are hard to prove and take a long time to complete the investigation.”

Scabbo, a member of the department since 2008, was presented with a medal of commendation. ∞