The Chestertown Council voted 5-0 on Monday to place a security camera in Fountain Park following an incident with a Park Row store owner who said she was followed into her store by one individual and heckled by others loitering in the park.
“The ongoing issue is subjects hanging in the park,” said Chestertown Police Chief John Dolgos at the Oct.19 council meeting. Dolgos said foot and vehicle patrols had been increased there.
“I highly recommend we put some type of camera in the park…it will help as a deterrent,” he said. He said a camera would make it easier to pursue charges if needed.
The camera will cost the town $2,000 and be placed at the hospital’s thrift store to scan the entire park as well as businesses on both sides of the park. The camera will have night vision capability.
Mayor Chris Cerino asked if any of the town’s current ordinances could address homeless people sleeping in the park and Dolgos responded that sleeping in the park is protected by the courts.
Cerino said one homeless person was using a tarp over a bench as shelter, and Dolgos responded that that could be seen as setting up residency.
“That could be a different issue,” Dolgos said.
There was no discussion of getting the town’s attorney involved.
Cerino said the town needed to have some recourse to deal with a potential “derelict situation” in the park.
“We’ve got these vagabonds that hang around on the one bench, and basically sit there and drink beer and wine and carry on and loiter,” Cerino said.