Freeway cameras approved by Pittsburg City Council

East Bay city leaders and law enforcement announced Monday they will soon have a new security system in place soon to prevent freeway shootings.

Funds from Caltrans is making the project possible.The Pittsburg City Council unanimously approved the freeway security network project.
"Our citizens have been driving in fear along our highways. The safety of our motorists has been one of our highest priorities," says Diana Becton, Contra Costa County District Attorney.
By late spring or early summer 2018, city and county officials say the freeway security network will be up and running on Interstate 80 and Highway 4 in Contra Costa County where there have been dozens of shootings in the past few years. 

Eight people have been killed. The system will be made up of cameras, shot spotter technology and license plate readers.

"When a shot is fired on the freeway, the shot spotter will activate the pan tilt zoom cameras and actually turn the camera in the direction of the gunfire . Then shot spotter will send an alert to a task force commander," says Mary Know, Contra Costa County Senior Deputy District Attorney.

The task force is made up of the FBI and CHP with help from local law enforcement agencies such as Pittsburg Police. 

The system will be installed along Interstate 80 and Highway 4 from Richmond to Hercules, and all the way to Antioch. 

Pittsburg, Antioch, Hercules, San Pablo and Richmond are participating in this three year pilot project.

"It hits home real quick. You don't look at anyone on the freeways anymore," says Dan Romero, vice mayor of Hercules.

In June 2016, when Romero was Mayor of Hercules, went to the state to ask for funds to buy cameras and develop a system to catch freeway shooters.

The mother of 24-year-old Demarcus Doss, the victim of mistaken identity, who was killed in March of this year while driving his minivan in I-80 in Richmond, tells KTVU she supports the new camera system.

"He wasn't affiliated with any gangs. He was just driving along like you or me or someone else would do," says Macletus Henderson, Doss' mother. 

"I'm ecstatic that finally we will have some tools to help the CHP. This is what this is about. It's a deterrent. We can't expect our law enforcement to be everywhere. This allows CHP and other law enforcement to get a picture of what's going on when it occurs," says Romero. 

The project received $3.5 million from the state to get started. Supporters say they will work on getting grants to keep the project running.