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UPDATE: Reward rises to $20,000; officials to seek major upgrade of trail security system
by Tom Spigolon
August 07, 2014 11:14 AM | 3390 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chuck Rann, Gary Gulledge and Michael Justus check locations for more cameras along the Silver Comet Trail.
Chuck Rann, Gary Gulledge and Michael Justus check locations for more cameras along the Silver Comet Trail.
Officials planned to ask county commissioners to fund a major upgrade of the security camera system along the most heavily used part of the Silver Comet Trail in central Paulding following last week’s vicious assault on a Dallas woman.

In addition, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday afternoon $20,000 was available in the Tina Waddell Reward Fund established by Sheriff Gary Gulledge at Bank of North Georgia for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the July 29 assault.

Waddell, 42, was attacked and severely beaten as she walked on the trail between the Paulding Chamber of Commerce and Drummond trailheads near Dallas July 29. The sheriff’s office has said it is still searching for the suspect, who the victim only described as a white male with dark hair.

In response, elected officials and department heads rode the length of the trail earlier this week to map out locations for 47 new digital cameras in 21 spots. They planned to ask the board of commissioners Tuesday to approve spending about $275,000 in special purpose local option sales tax funds targeted for recreation purposes to pay for the cameras and two additional Smart Cars deputies now use to patrol the trail, said County Administrator Mike Jones.

“This trail is already the most heavily patrolled piece of asphalt in the county,” Jones said.

The group included Jones, county commission Chairman David Austin, Sheriff Gary Gulledge, Parks Director Michael Justus, Government Services Director Chuck Rann, Information Technology Director Will Lyons and two sheriff’s deputies who regyularly patrol the trail.

If approved, the cameras could be purchased and operational within about two months in a seven-mile area in central Paulding between the Hiram and Rambo Road trailheads, Jones said.

The area was selected because it is the most heavily-used section and is closest to existing fiber optic lines, he said.

The trail now includes older, analog cameras only usable in daylight hours in three locations. The kind of digital cameras officials are seeking would allow the monitoring agency to have a 24-hour view, including after dark through use of infrared technology, Jones said.

County officials must get more details on such items as specific locations of existing fiber optic lines and power sources and camera specifications before seeking bids, he said.

A second phase of the upgrade effort would include extension of existing fiber optic lines two miles east to the Cobb County line at Isley Stamper Road, and three miles west to Mt. Olivet Road for addition of 11 more cameras, he said.

Austin said the purchase would be a good use of sales tax funds both because of the need to upgrade safety and because the trail is the county’s largest tourist draw.

“We think it is important for the tourism for our greatest asset to make sure we do everything we can to protect it,” he said.

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