Cameras are popping up everywhere and will probably be growing exponentially, if not already doing so.
Years ago, when I first heard of cameras being used to solve crimes, I felt it could be a good thing if used properly. It is a good thing when we hear of dangerous criminal types being caught as a result of these cameras; but my biggest concern is what many people are referring to as law enforcement overreach.
In Alabama, which is arguably one of the worst states to live in for a registrant, cities across Alabama are ramping up security by installing cameras as part of their crime-fighting strategy. Officials say that steps have been taken to safeguard privacy. All footage is deleted every 30 days. Does that make me feel comfortable that overreach will not be a concern? No!
My concern is Captain Ware’s comment to Channel 6WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, “Stolen vehicle, wanted persons, Silver alerts, Amber Alerts, registered sex offenders…” Why is he interested in photographing law-abiding people who are forced to register? Or will LE only be using the cameras to find registrants with outstanding warrants for real crimes?
We have an FAC member who has been sending research to various individuals and groups – anyone he finds who needs to be educated. One person he is educating is a sheriff in Florida. The FAC member recently received a hand-written note from the sheriff thanking him for sending the information to him, which is being sent every two weeks for a period of six months. The sheriff also mentioned that he is passing on the research to the leadership in his department.
We have another member who, with some success, has spent time educating the sheriff in her county.
FAC members are educating the media and legislators. It is now time to start educating our Florida sheriffs. If Grady Judd can understand that we need to look to some of the IT geniuses in this country to start taking down CP from the internet, then any sheriff is capable of understanding and applying the research to prevent LE overreach in the use of these cameras.