Surveillance aims to deter Father Marquette statue vandalism

The Marquette Beautification Committee has taken steps to deter would-be vandals from defacing the Father Marquette statue on Front Street.

Range Telecommunications installed cameras at the Lake Superior Community Partnership today that will monitor the statue and capture anyone intending harm to the landmark. In addition to infrared capabilities, the cameras can be recorded on 24/7 and the images can be viewed remotely.

“The city police have the ability, should an incident occur, for them to be able to go on a computer at the station and recover video right away, increasing the chances of locating someone, knowing the attire and everything, right away,” Range Telecommunications vice president of sound and security Joe Wales said.

A motion sensing light will also be placed near the statue the illuminate any who approach at night, giving the cameras a clearer image to capture. The new surveillance measures come as a result of past vandalism to the statue, which is estimated to be valued at around $200,000.

“It’s very valuable,” Father Marquette Restoration Committee chairman Jerry Irby said. “We’ve taken the initiative to protect it, restore it and to work with the community to make it better, so we’re looking for that opportunity to let the community know that we’re taking the steps to protect their Father Marquette statue.”

The Father Marquette statue is one of only three in the country, with the other two being located on Mackinac Island and on the rotunda at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.