Timetable set for Cal Anderson cam removal: Surveillance tech to be redeployed

The City Council passed legislation Monday afternoon that sets a timetable for removal of the surveillance cameras that have operated in Cal Anderson Park since 2008. The bill also lays out the rules and requirements for the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks and the city’s Department of Information Technology to redeploy the technology at other locations across the city.

Here’s the language on removal from Council Bill Number: 116975

Section 10. DoIT shall remove by no later than January 1, 2011, the three cameras that were installed in Cal Anderson Park in 2008. DPR is authorized to transfer the cameras to SPD for other uses consistent with this ordinance and applicable law.

We documented the ongoing battle over the cameras between privacy and civil liberties advocates and city officials who felt the technology helped deter crime in Cal Anderson even though a city auditor’s study said there was no measurable impact from the technology’s placement in the park. Earlier this summer, City Council parks committee chair Sally Bagshaw reversed course mid-meeting and led the committee on a path to eliminating the cameras from Cal Anderson and making them available to SPD to deploy only under tighter restrictions.

The bill confirms the authorization for SPD to continue to utilize cameras in the Central District near the Garfield Community Center.

It also includes requirements for annual reports on how the technology is utilized:

SPD and DPR shall report annually to the Parks and Seattle Center Committee, or its successor committee, on the outcomes of the surveillance camera program.  For each City park where cameras are installed, SPD shall annually provide a summary of crime statistics for the preceding calendar year and a comparative analysis of historical crime data covering a period of at least five years for inclusion in the report.

SPD shall also document how many crime investigations benefitted from the use of the cameras in the preceding calendar year.  The report shall also include a qualitative discussion of public perceptions of safety within the viewable area of the cameras.  DPR will be responsible for completing the qualitative component of the report.  Public input for the qualitative component shall be collected by DPR staff via an annual survey, public meeting, or other appropriate means identified by DPR staff and approved by the Chair of the Council’s Parks and Seattle Center Committee.  DPR shall be responsible for delivering the report to the Council by no later than January 31 of each calendar year, beginning in 2012.

Meanwhile, the city is also looking for community members to be part of a citizens’ board to advise on matters of technology and communications. Here’s an e-mail with the pitch from Council member Bruce Harrell. Deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 28.

The Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) is seeking candidates for 5 seats to begin service in January 2011. Members serve a two year term and must live in the City of Seattle.  Once selected, members will attend monthly meetings and participate on one sub-committee that meets monthly as well.  

CTTAB advises City officials on issues relating to telecommunications and technology, including but not limited to: broadband, digital divide issues, open government and community technology applications, online public engagement and cable television.  CTTAB also reviews applications submitted for the City’sTechnology Matching Fund and makes recommendations to the City Council and Mayor.  The TechnologyMatching Fund is a vital program to help close the digital divide and promote job skills, education, and civic engagement.

Ideal candidates will possess combined knowledge in social media, digital inclusion, technologyinfrastructure and applications, broadband law and policy from the community, information andcommunications technology, education and non-profit sectors.

Given my commitment to our city’s race and social justice initiative, I encourage seniors, women, people of color and people with disabilities to apply.  Please submit a letter of interest and a resume to nicole.schultz@seattle.gov by September 28, 2010.  Electronic submissions are preferred, for more information on submitting materials via US Postal Service, please contact Nicole Schultz at 206-386-1038.

Sincerely,

Bruce A. Harrell

Seattle Councilmember

       

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