SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Under the requirements of its Surveillance Technology Policy, the City of Syracuse is seeking community input on proposed surveillance technology. The Syracuse Police Department is considering the use of street cameras that will capture still images of license plates to aid with investigations and the apprehension of suspects after criminal activity has occurred. The Department of Public Works is also considering GPS tracking for the real-time location of the department’s fleet. The Public Works technology also provides camera images along driver routes to aid in ensuring crew safety and accountability.
The City’s Surveillance Technology Advisory Group, appointed by Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, will accept public comment on the proposed technology for 14 days beginning December 6 through December 20. To submit a comment, residents can visit http://bit.ly/syrtech2021.
“This is exactly what we promised to do as part of our commitment to accountability and public transparency in the use of surveillance technology by city government. I am proud of our teams at Syracuse Police and Public Works for continuing to make public engagement part of the way we lead and transparency as part of what we do to earn trust,” said Mayor Walsh.
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The street cameras to be installed will not identify specific drivers but will collect data continuously, capturing images and data every second. The City is reviewing technology from two companies that specialize in hardware and software safety solutions—Flock Safety and IK Systems Inc. Once a company is approved, the Syracuse Police Department will be responsible for the compliance of data storage and destruction as set by New York State Law.
The Public Works fleet technology that performs GPS tracking and uses AI cameras will be permanently installed on DPW trucks and equipment. It operates continuously storing data in a cloud-based environment available for recall on-demand. Fleet Operations superintendents will have access to the data through a highly secure web portal.
Engaging residents in public comment on surveillance technology is part of Mayor Walsh’s Surveillance Technology Policy. Mayor Walsh signed an Executive Order for Surveillance Technology in 2020 as part of the City’s response to police reform and accountability. The executive order also led to the creation of the City’s Surveillance Technology Advisory Group which guarantees proper vetting and transparency on surveillance technology use by city government.
The group is managed by the Office of Accountability, Performance, and Innovation and is made up of city staff, community advocates, and technology and ethics experts. Questions regarding the review of surveillance technology can be directed to http://bit.ly/syrsurveillancetech.