Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kenosha, WI to Implement Public Panopticon?


Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey is requesting $500,000 in public funding to obtain and install up to 28 public cameras to be placed in "high crime" areas.

Twenty-eight cameras will be considered Wednesday by the City Council as part of the 2009-13 Capital Improvement Plan. Police are requesting $500,000, spread over 2009-10, to buy cameras.

While some are concerned the plan moves into “Big Brother”-like intrusion, Police Chief John Morrissey disagreed, noting the well-marked cameras will be in public areas.

“If you’re in a public place ... I’m all for it,” Morrissey said. “If I’m doing something wrong, then shame on me. But if something happens to me, I hope there’s something out there that will assist the police in figuring out what happened to me, or anybody else. I don’t have any problem with them as long as they’re in public places.”

Many aldermen agree.

Of course many alderman agree, I know these people. These are the guys that got a 2500 foot mandatory distance on sex offenders from schools, and other places that might have children, officially keeping them from within city boundaries completely. These are the guys that wanted a public smoking ban including in bars and homes. Now they want to make sure they can "check up" on us to make sure we aren't doing anything wrong.

Though locations are still being determined, Morrissey said he would like permanent cameras at some troublesome spots — such as the downtown bus transfer station — while the other cameras will be movable.

My poor ass uses that bus station all the time to get to class and back home or use the gym, or whatever else. Never have I seen criminal activity. The notion that it is a dangerous place in need of monitoring is absolutely false and ludicrous.

Exhibit A

Terry Rose, a county supervisor and local attorney, believes the plan amounts to government spying.

[...]

“This concept of ‘Big Brother is watching’ is something that every generation has fought to oppose, and we need to oppose it as well,” Rose said. “That type of concept smacks too much of the authoritarian, totalitarian way of thinking as opposed to what we cherish. Every time constitutional rights are deprived of people or limited, we give up a certain part of our American heritage, and I’m not willing to do that.”

[...]

“One can always use the argument, ‘If people are complying with the law, they have nothing to worry about,’” Rose said. “But as we’ve learned in the last eight years, people’s rights can be shortchanged by a theory that is in the best interest of the general public.”

Ditto.

Morrissey said the cameras could help investigate allegations of officer abuse.

“If this suspect comes in and tells me the cops beat me, well guess what? I’m watching the whole thing here,” Morrissey said. “There’s benefits to that too. It’s not just the public that’s under eye; my cops are under eye.”

Because, you know, the cops won't know where the cameras are, so they can't just go to another location to do the beating. Besides, I doubt that suspect's safety is the first thing on their minds.

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