Lack of funding stalls plan to add cameras to Monon Trail

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Eyewitness News has learned that plans to better protect parts of Indianapolis are on hold after federal grant money was pulled off the table.

"I'm a 66-year-old man, and I want to be able to walk up and down this trail," said Everett Treadwell.

And that's what he did in the sunshine on Tuesday on the Monon Trail. Treadwell said he felt safer because of the security camera that was watching.

"It's a good idea to keep the cameras up to see what's happening, keep things safe out here," said Treadwell.

"I like the fact that there are cameras," said Heather Scott on the canal downtown. "As you can see, a lot of people are exercising and walking and jogging, they do it at nighttime as well."

"Cameras are great crime-fighting tools for us," said Mike Bates, Deputy Chief of the city's Division of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security wanted to install more cameras, but they recently learned the grant money they were counting on won't be there.

"When the federal government went into their sequester mode, like a lot of other things, the grant funding for the cameras through the federal government was kind of put on hold," said Bates.

Homeland Security's plan was to put 20 more cameras on the Monon Trail in addition to the four that are already there. They also planned to install six along the canal, to add to the one that's already there, along with some on the Pennsey Trail on the city's east side.

Without that funding, the city's in a kind of funding limbo, waiting to see if federal money ever becomes available.

The grants sometimes involved millions of dollars. "And now, there's no money, said Heather Scott. "I would like to put my shocked face on, but it doesn't surprise me that much.

"All of a sudden, not to have anything, it's just a difficult thing," added Bates. "At this point, there just really isn't anything we can do."

The people who say they feel safer because of security cameras around the city will also say you can't put a price on safety.

"I think they should make the money to do it, to put the cameras on," said Treadwell. "Its important. It keeps people safe up and down this area."

Bates said the city's Homeland Security Division will continue to look for grant money.