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8.24.22 – KSLA 

Alexandria Police Chief Ronney Howard says the department already has cameras in high crime areas.

At Tuesday’s Alexandria City Council meeting, the question of putting cameras in a recent hot zone for violent crime was addressed.

The following item was on the agenda for the Public Safety, Works and Transportation Committee:

“To hear from the Administration on having cameras installed in the area of Orchard Street and Florence Ave.”Alexandria City Council Committee Agenda, Aug. 23

Last week, District 1 Councilman Reddex Washington suggested the cameras in the area of Florence and Orchard as a crime prevention tool. Multiple homicides have been reported there in 2022.

In the meeting, Mayor Jeff Hall called on Alexandria Police Chief Ronney Howard to address the idea, with Chief Howard first sharing that there are already cameras in what APD considers high crime areas. He clarified that these are not the cameras seen in downtown Alexandria.

Chief Howard then said that he could not provide anymore information on the cameras “due to pending and future investigations.”

That response led to more questioning from a resident at the council meeting, demanding answers concerning the seven deaths in the Florence Avenue and Orchard Street area this year. The exchange led to Chief Howard confirming cameras in the District 1 zone.

“There are cameras in that area,” Chief Howard said.

“If there are cameras there, they aren’t working,” the resident said. “You cannot argue with a camera.”

“You can,” Chief Howard said.

With no arrests made for most of the homicides in the area of Florence Avenue and Orchard Street in 2022, Chief Howard shared that a camera alone cannot solve a murder. He added that while APD has persons of interest in some of the cases, they are still working to ensure they arrest the right people for the crimes.

The claims over cameras from Chief Howard were disputed by Council President Catherine Davidson.

“There are no cameras in the area of Florence Avenue and Orchard Street,” Council President Davidson said.

This agenda item was only to hear from the administration, so no action was taken Tuesday night. KALB is following up with both Chief Howard and the city council for clarification on police cameras in Alexandria.