Cameras, license plate readers in downtown Antioch parking lots offered as solutions to sideshows, gunfire

A car spinning donuts at the Antioch boat ramp parking lot in July 2023 and an example of an automated license plate reader. Source: (left) Herald file photo and (right) Flock Safety

“We’re just not going to put up with it anymore,” Sean McCauley downtown Antioch business and property owner.

Barbanica requests process to hire private security guards begun last year to continue

By Allen D. Payton

During a meeting at Antioch City Hall, Tuesday, August 15, 2023, which included city staff, Rivertown business and property owners and District 3 Councilman Mike Barbanica, it was decided a solution to the problem of sideshows, cars doing donuts and gunfire in downtown, city-owned parking lots will be cameras and automated license plate readers.

In the meeting were Acting City Manager Kwame Reed, Police Lt. John Fortner, the owners of Monica’s Riverview and Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, Sean McCauley, who owns several buildings in Rivertown, and Barbanica.

“It was a very productive meeting,” the District 3 councilman shared. “My position is still zero-tolerance and anyone participating in sideshows.”

“I made a request for license plates readers and cameras in the city-owned parking lots north of W. Second Street,” he stated. “I’m probably going to add the one next to the Senior Center, as well.”

“We’re just not going to put up with it anymore,” McCauley said. “We have meetings once a month. It’s a public private partnership.”

Barbanica said, “Sean has offered to pay for the equipment. But this is a city problem, and the city should pay for it.”

Asked if he’d requested it for next Tuesday’s council meeting agenda, Barbanica responded, “Requested it ASAP.”

Asked if it requires council action or if APD can pay for it from their budget, Fortner responded, “Both can technically happen. Historically, the PD has run with the city’s Community Camera Project, and we would budget for that. If a larger project cane up over $50K that has to go to council to be approved.”

Later, Barbanica spoke about the RFQ (Request for Quote) process for hiring private security guards approved by the city council last year.

As previously reported, during their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, the Antioch City Council voted to adopt a resolution to develop a comprehensive Downtown/Rivertown Public Parking Lots Security Plan and authorize the City Manager to issue a Request for Qualifications for a private patrol security service either on and/or near Downtown/Rivertown Area City-Owned public parking lots or other designated downtown areas. District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock included other city owned parking lots in “southeast” in her motion which passed on a 5-0 vote.

“Four proposals were received in February for patrolling the downtown parking lots,” Barbanica shared. “I asked Kwame to follow up on that and continue the process.”

Later, Lynn Tei, who with her husband, Randy, owns Smith’s Landing said, “Something has to be done even if this isn’t the best solution to stop the craziness. But at least it’s something. We’ve added security on the weekends since we are getting so many calls asking if it is safe to come to the restaurant. Plus, we are concerned for our employees’ safety.”

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Sideshow and license plate reader

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