The Anaheim Police Department is looking to blanket the city with a new surveillance system. In a $468,000 proposal going before the city council this evening, police hope to install visible cameras in the city's parks while integrating existing cameras at libraries, sports venues and school sites.
The Weekly first reported on Anaheim PD's Big Brother plans last year during a community meeting on homelessness. At that time, Police Chief Raul Quezada noted that the camera system would be helpful at public parks, especially when cops receive complaint calls about the homeless.
In making the case before council, Quezada touts the system as an effective tool for his department. “The proposed Overt Surveillance Camera Project will assist in creating a safer environment by reducing crime through rapid identification of individuals involved in criminal behavior,” Quezada writes in a staff report. “Cameras will deter crime by providing around-the-clock monitoring capabilities and the ability to capture video evidence for use in the prosecution of criminal suspects.”
Anaheim is not the first police department to request a city-wide surveillance system. Redlands police installed 140 cameras by Leverage Information Systems, the same company Anaheim is tapping for its project. Thomas Kinsey, a security engineer, and his IT firm boss Dustin Hoffman (not the actor!) found a flaw with the Redlands system where the camera feeds could be easily tapped into.
The two mapped out the pod feeds, including one that snooped on an Adult Video store entrance. Redlands police caught wind of their planned presentation on the system flaw and responded with WEP encryption that made the feeds password protected, a move Hoffman likened in a Forbes article to putting “a dairy lock” on a front door.
Anaheim police, already outfitted with expensive body-worn cameras, plan to implement their own surveillance system in three phases. Should council members approve the contract this evening, the first set of cameras would be installed at Maxwell, Brookhurst and Twila Reid Park on the city's west side. The cops singled out the parks based on their calls for service stats.
A command center at Anaheim PD headquarters would be created during the first phase to monitor live video feeds from the parks. The cameras can be controlled from there to capture incidents as they happen. The system will also be equipped with speakers allowing cops to blare one-way commands.
During the second phase, Leverage Information Systems would work in existing traffic cameras and other surveillance equipment already present at Angel Stadium, Honda Center, City Hall, and local libraries. The final phase includes police outreach efforts to school districts, local businesses and other places with private surveillance systems to make their feeds accessible to law enforcement—on a voluntary basis, of course! (See, they aren't total totalitarians!)
Will Anaheim transform from being a City of Kindness to a Surveillance City? Check out the action at council this evening.