San Pablo surveillance expansion project approved

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San Pablo City Council voted in favor Monday of a plan to increase the number of situational awareness surveillance cameras citywide from 134 to 194, and to increase automated license plate reader cameras from 16 to 72, after contracts with the providers of the systems were amended with the aim of preventing against unauthorized data sharing.

The technology expansion costs about $2.6 million dollars and installations will begin immediately, with the goal of 100-percent completion before the end of the year, the San Pablo Police Department announced in a statement Thursday.

On March 19, the council stalled the surveillance expansion following concern expressed by the ACLU of Northern California and community members that one of the vendors, Vigilant Solutions, has a separate agreement to sell data to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

In response, San Pablo police Chief Ron Raman met with several community groups and invited residents to a public workshop on April 11 to discuss the issue along with an executive team from Vigilant Solutions.

“During these dialogues, the community shared perspective and provided input on the direction of the program,” the police department reported. “Contract language was agreed upon between the City of San Pablo and Vigilant Solutions and ODIN Systems to include liquidated damages from the technology companies should unauthorized sharing of data occur. Staff also amended ALPR and surveillance camera policy to specifically address the issues of data sharing and immigration enforcement to be consistent with City Council Resolution #2017-045 and SB54.”

The contract and policy changes garnered support from several community members and the council at this past Monday’s council meeting.

The aim of the technology expansion is to capitalize on the success of existing systems installed in San Pablo since 2011, not just situational awareness cameras and automoated license plate reader technology, but also Shot Spotter gunshot detection software.

“This technology has played a significant role in solving and deterring crime,” police said. “This is evident in the reduction of overall crime and the 74-percent decrease in gun violence since 2011.”

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