Nearly half a million dollars in Homeland Security money’s coming to a community near Sioux City to help complete a high-tech communications system. The Nebraska town of South Sioux City is one of just nine cities in the nation to get the Information Technology Grants, and city manager Lance Hedquist says it’s recognition of their status as a technology leader. The project helps secure and oversee public city buildings as well as the water plant and water treatment facilities, power substation, and some of the other critical infrastructure. The city’s surveillance system uses a fiber-optic network, which Hedquist says is unique for a city to own. But the federal grant will complete it using “wi-fi” — wireless computing, extending its reach without having to install any more wires or cables. Hedquist says any police squad car driving within 2 blocks of the high school or junior high can take a look through the 48 cameras within the school system, and pan, tilt, and zoom them remotely to take a look at any area the cameras can reach. If an alarm goes off at a local bank, similar camera signals will let them look into the bank from police cars, so officers know from outside whether “a janitor hit the door or whether it’s a real situation.” Hedquist says the mayor and city council have agreed technology’s going to be part of their future, both to serve residents and businesses, and to attract new economic development. The South Sioux City Information Sharing Project’s getting 457-thousand, 226 dollars as one of the homeland security department’s information technology demonstration projects.
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