Thursday the Paulding Sheriff’s Office announced plans to install 47 high-resolution cameras along the 18-mile portion of the trail in Paulding, which cuts through wooded areas and is commonly used by walkers and runners, said Cpl. Ashley Henson, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Deputies will work with the county to have those cameras ready to start recording in 60 days, Henson said.
Deputies said installing the cameras will cost $275,000 and will come from existing special purpose local option sales tax funds dedicated to be used in parks.
Henson said his department also plans to order smart cars, which are small motor vehicles, to patrol the trail. The department already has two smart cars on the trail all day, every day, Henson said, so in total there will be four cars on the trail after this purchase.
Henson said the cameras will be installed at 21 locations along the trail in Paulding.
“In one location there may be multiple cameras pointing in multiple ways,” Henson said.
The cameras will record 24/7, Henson said, but they will not be manned. The cameras are there in case a crime happens on the trail, Henson said.
“We have to take measures that this doesn’t happen again, and if it does happen again we have the evidence there that we can use,” Henson said.
Waddell, who police say was beaten by an unknown person while running on the Silver Comet Trail on July 29, survived the attack that broke bones in her face.
She was dragging herself back toward the trail, police said, when Peter Skott of Acworth saw her while he was riding his bike and called police.
Police have not identified a suspect, but Waddell described a white person with dark hair who beat her near the bridge that spans Academy Drive.
Joey Waddell, Tina Waddell’s brother-in-law, has been writing updates on her condition in Facebook posts. In response to the sheriff’s announcement, Joey Waddell wrote on Facebook on Thursday: “Continue to fight to make the SCT trail safe. This is a great start.”
A 12.8 portion of the trail runs through south Cobb.
Cobb Police Chief John Houser said officers patrol the portion of the trail in Cobb on a daily basis on bikes, motorcycles or four-wheelers.
“We have in the past put undercover officers out there to patrol the area,” Houser said. “We feel that the portion of the trail that’s in Cobb County is safe.”
Houser said Cobb County police do not have any cameras on the trail, but his department might consider installing video surveillance.
“We can evaluate it, and it’s certainly an option for the future,” Houser said.
Waddell’s attack isn’t the first that has happened on the trail.
In 2006, Jennifer Ewing of Sandy Springs was killed on the Silver Comet Trail while riding her bike. Ewing was beaten and sexually assaulted before she died, according to the autopsy.
Michael Ledford of Hiram, a previously convicted sex offender, was convicted of her murder in 2009 and sentenced to death.
Police are still investigating Waddell’s attack and are offering a reward in her name now worth $20,000 for anyone who can give information about her attack, Henson said.
*How to contribute: Visit the Bank of North Georgia’s Hiram branch at 75 Metromont Road to donate to the Tina Waddell Reward Fund.