ACLU challenging the use of surveillance cameras in St. Louis - KMOV.com

ACLU challenging the use of surveillance cameras in St. Louis

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(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images) By Adam Berry (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images) By Adam Berry

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The ACLU of Missouri is challenging the City of St. Louis over its use of surveillance cameras. 

The organization says the cameras in the city come with inadequate protections for privacy and are pushing for tighter policies on how long surveillance videos can be kept and who has access to it. Leaders at the ACLU say it's imperative that the city gets the limitations on paper before further discussion of a real time intelligence center or body cameras. 

The ACLU is issuing strong concerns for use of surveillance video, requesting that the city store data for no more than a week, and requiring law enforcement to provide probable cause before accessing it. 

"We have limited resources in the government. How do we want to use them," asks Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director for the ACLU of Missouri? "Do we want to use them in a way that appears to keep us safe, but doesn't keep us safe, and in fact infringes on our privacy, or do we want to invest in more police and better training?" 

According to officials in the Mayor's office, while the plan is to expand the cameras long term and use them for crime prevention and solving, right now there are very few currently in place that are monitored live. Officials say they have continued to work with the ACLU to evolve their current and future policies. 

"When we create the real time intelligence center we want to respect people's right to privacy, but we also want to make sure the tax payers get what they expect out of this, which is less crime and less violence," says Jeff Rainford, the Chief of Staff at the St. Louis Mayor's Office. 

The ACLU says they have begun discussions with city and state officials and say they'd like to have legislation passed in the next session to improve policies on surveillance cameras in the city. 

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