Seattle Police Cameras - The Public Records Blame Game

When you have a city as large as Seattle, distributed records are inevitable. But that doesn't mean that public records requests need to turn into a game of finger pointing. The police department first tells me that the Purchasing department has the records I am looking for. The Purchasing department tells me the Police and IT department has the records. Seattle City Light and Department of Transportation are both several days late in responding. When does it end?

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Seattle Police Cameras - Belltown Public Meeting

I just got home from the police department's meeting at Belltown Community Center, and I have to say, it was an interesting night. The meeting attendance was extremely light, I don't believe anyone was actually there to learn about the issue. The room was about half city employees, one third against the police, and the rest citizens concerned about the cameras. I was expecting the meeting to be controlled by the police department, but instead it was taken over by the anti-police crowd. Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh did a splendid job allowing the group to make fools of themselves.

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Seattle Police Cameras - Upcoming Public Meeting and More Records Requests

Downtown Seattle SPD Mesh Network Map

The Seattle Police Department will be hosting a meeting at the Belltown Community Center, Tuesday, March 19th at 7 PM. I've prepared a flyer with material from the public records returned so far. I'll be bringing a stack with me to distribute. This flyer presents all the relevant information in a concise form, and debunks many of the department talking points.

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Seattle Police Cameras - The records are in but are they complete?

Right on schedule, my public records request for info on the Wireless Mesh Network is back. What I've seen so far is alarming. I found 36 cameras ordered, with network capacity and infrastructure for over 180. Even better, the camera has a face detection function which, per the manual: "detects the position of human face and the information is sent by XML or video stream."

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Public Hearings - You Aren't Doing It Right!

Every time a controversial issue comes up, one or more of the politicians involved decides to hold a public hearing. In fact, legislative bodies almost exclusively hold public meetings. Has anyone ever thought about why that is? If you said “so the public can provide input” you are likely wrong. Elections aren't won or lost based on public meetings, and that is the only time you can truly provide input. If a politician is holding a public meeting, he or she has already been elected. And if a bureaucrat is holding a public meeting, be even more worried, because bureaucrats aren't elected.

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Seattle Police Cameras - Not just for the port

Hopefully you read my article from earlier this week on the Seattle Police Department's "Port Security Mesh Network". I don't know about you, but I wouldn't consider 4th and Cherry the port. If you ask me, it's quite squarely in the middle of downtown Seattle, you can only see a small sliver of the waterfront from there. But there is clearly a camera there. I also spotted a camera on 4th and Columbia.

Here is a map of the location of the downtown camera:

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Port Commission Increasing Pay from $47/hour to $328/hour

(Also in The Seattle Times)

Today the Seattle Port commissioners will attempt to ram through a pay increase. As was noted by the Seattle Times story published in late February, the plan was announced only two weeks ago by Tom Albro. For those of you who don't know, the port commission is a legislative body. They are effectively the board of directors for the port.

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Seattle Police Cameras - We've only scratched the surface

Hopefully you are all aware of the new cameras the Seattle Police Department is installing all around the city. The Seattle Police Department claims they only plan to install a few dozen cameras, however I don't believe that is true. Based on several related actions, the department likely has plans to install hundreds of cameras around the city.

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