Police address privacy concerns over security system
The Sacramento Press talked to members of the Sacramento Police Department Monday about the city’s plans to install a new $615,000 surveillance system in the coming months. Locations for the new equipment have not yet been chosen. The funding, which comes from Federal Homeland Security Grants, was awarded to the city by the state.
Sacramento Press: Can you speak to the issue of privacy concerns?
Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel: “The cameras we’ll put up will only be in places that are in open view to the public, so it’s no different than someone walking down the street with their videophone and taking pictures. We’re very sensitive to those issues.
In fact, early on, as we started the process, I actually met with members of the American Civil Liberties Union, when there were other issues coming up with cameras.
Any fixed cameras that we have currently that go into areas that would be considered private, we mosaic-out through software. For example, we have surveillance cameras at some of our facilities…and if they encroach in someone’s personal space, we actually mosaic that out.
But for most part, you’ll see them on K Street Mall, where areas are open to the public, and anyone can video those including the general public.”
SP: How long will you keep the video records?
Sacramento Police Department Spokesman Konrad VonSchoech said that if the police record a criminal activity on video, the department would keep the video for five years. VonSchoech said this timeframe conforms to the code for records retention.
If the video contains evidence, however, police will keep it for as long as it needs to prosecute a crime, VonSchoech said.