Seattle Police announce meetings for surveillance-camera feedback, starting on Alki

March 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

Seattle Police have just announced the promised meetings for “thorough public vetting” – Mayor McGinn’s phrase – of their federally funded surveillance-camera network. First one is Tuesday (March 12th), 7 pm, at Alki Bathhouse; second one, 7 pm March 19th at Belltown Community Center. They’ve also set up an address for e-mail feedback: cameraquestions@seattle.gov. It’s been more than six weeks since we broke the news of half a dozen cameras’ installation along Alki and Harbor Avenues, Beach Drive, and Fauntleroy Way, part of a 30-camera system linked to a “wireless mesh” communication system, and two weeks since SPD indicated there would be public forums, without mentioning dates, places, times. Tonight the city’s Seattle Channel also took an closeup look at the controversy. Our coverage dating back to January 29th is archived here, newest to oldest.

15 Comments

  1. They called the email address for feedback “cameraquestions”? Why not “cammeraobjections” or “cameracomplaints”?
    .
    I am trying to keep an open mind. Really I am. But at every point they just keep reconfirming that there is something rather missing in the attitudes that have gone into the entire project.
    .
    The very name of the email address implies that they aren’t looking for input. The email address implies that objections are from people who have “questions” – i.e., once their questions are answered, then their objections must disappear.
    .
    Like anyone who objects must just be uninformed or something.

    Comment by objections not questions — 10:34 pm March 8, 2013 #

  2. Sadly, I will not be available for either of these “vettings” in person. However, you can be sure I will share a clear,”NO THANK YOU and why is this even a discussion?” message via the link. Thanks WSB for keeping us in the loop. Until we can vote the idiots out who are diluting our freedoms, the least we can to is point them toward the door of their own making. Enough is enough.

    Comment by chuck and sally's van man — 11:10 pm March 8, 2013 #

  3. Is Rand Paul available to join the meeting?

    Comment by ChrisW — 7:05 am March 9, 2013 #

  4. I love it! Activate them all put one up at the new Morgan Junction Park and another one behind Short Stop Cleaners.

    This area has gone to the undesirables in the neighborhood!

    Comment by Sillygoose — 6:53 pm March 9, 2013 #

  5. Yeah sounds like a case of ‘Just do it, handle questions after bit it’s staying.’ Federally funded anything these days should be questioned. Seems like a Homeland Security thing to me.

    Comment by :( — 6:55 pm March 9, 2013 #

  6. SPD still have not fulfilled my request for various documents related to these cameras and the network to which they are attached, filed January 30, 2013. On January 31, Rodger Stephenson at SPD provided an estimated date of completion of March 16.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 7:57 am March 10, 2013 #

  7. If they put the cameras where they’re needed (further west on Alki Ave) they would do some good. Maybe they’d catch the taggers who hit the promenade on Friday night, and the drug deals, and the thefts and the low lifes who hang there after dark.
    Here comes summer at Alki…Woo Hoo!

    Comment by Dianne — 10:23 am March 10, 2013 #

  8. objections not questions has it exactly right…obviously, the fix is in.
    Remember when we didn’t have cell phones?
    The internet?
    Cameras monitored by faceless strangers watching our every public movement?
    How did we ever survive???

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 11:51 am March 10, 2013 #

  9. I wonder how the politicians and the police officers would feel if they got a camera pointed right at their house or favorite park? How about putting cameras on Queen Anne or Magnolia? There would seem to have a wonderful expansive view from there with the zooming capability. Do you think those residents would let them get away with it there? I listened to the police captain on the Seattle channel. He claims that no cameras are pointing inward toward residents. What about the one at the Fauntleroy ferry bus stop? It can hardly see the water! I’m getting more and more disgusted and distrustful of the police and politicians.

    Comment by Citizen — 10:46 pm March 10, 2013 #

  10. I have a suggestion. Put these cameras outside of gun shops and gun sale shows. Don’t the police want to find criminals? If they can justify spying on the public, they can justify putting one there. Don’t they want to find straw purchasers?

    Comment by Citizen — 11:22 pm March 10, 2013 #

  11. Citizen: I suspect most politicians and most police officers would feel just fine about the hypothetical cameras you describe. They likely do not grasp the potential for misuse that these systems carry. They likely envision only “good people” having access to the cameras. They are likely unfamiliar with the extent to which our federal government slurps up and stores away any available data about still-presumed-innocent people.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 8:27 am March 11, 2013 #

  12. I’m with you Phil and appreciate the work you are doing. I think that having the cameras at West Seattle is may be only a first step toward spreading it statewide. I’m thinking out loud and want citizens in other neighborhoods to consider stopping it here. I was speaking tongue-in-cheek but seriously, considering how strong the gun lobby is, would they allow a camera outside of a shop?

    Comment by Citizen — 10:44 am March 11, 2013 #

  13. can i just break one instead of commenting?

    Comment by camera enthusiast — 8:07 pm March 18, 2013 #

  14. Can you say, “TrapWire”?

    Comment by It'sonlyme — 9:19 pm March 20, 2013 #

  15. Obviously I don’t pay enough attention to the West Seattle Blog or I would have been at the meetings regarding these cameras.
    I have some major concerns regarding these cameras. First off, these cameras were already installed without any public input. This makes me not trust that the Mayor cares about public vetting about these cameras. If he did care, he would have vetted them publicly before installing them. The decision to use them to spy on ordinary citizens has already been decided. I also have a major problem with the further militarization of the police forces in Seattle and throughout the country. The police are arming themselves as if they are an occupying force. Automatic assault weapons, armored personnel carriers, full body armor, etc… When did the people of Seattle become the enemy of the state? Why does our city government think that they have to watch citizens every move? The police are becoming more and more aggressive when dealing with the people who they serve. The DOJ’s finding of excessive force being used by SPD is not surprising. The fact that the police and their union are trying to fight the changes that are being mandated by the DOJ tell me and every other citizen of Seattle that they are viewed as the enemy by the SPD. You cannot negotiate my civil liberties. I do not trust that the SPD will use these cameras responsibly. I believe that they will use these cameras to track the movement of every citizen within the view of them. George Orwell was right, just wrong on the year. Take these cameras down and send them back to the vendor. Everything that I have said goes for the drone program as well.

    Comment by Kencryst — 9:49 pm March 20, 2013 #

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