Â The city of SLO is proposing a policy on video surveillance. Bill Statler, director of finance and information technology, says the city needs to come up with a video surveillance policy now, before cameras become more prevalent. The policy, says Statler, is not about spying on the public but is instead about protecting the cityâ€™s property. Video cameras are already ubiquitous on private property.
Â One place city officials have faced repeated problems with vandalism is the City Hall, where, according to a city memorandum, â€œexcrement has been spread over the walls, fixtures and stalls; graffiti written and carved on partition walls; and toilets purposely clogged.â€?
Â Statler says the surveillance policy (tentatively set to go before the council in early April) will also help protect city employees, such as dispatchers, who work late into the night.
Â He says he knows video surveillance polices can attract criticism and concerns over civil rights, but he insists thatâ€™s why city officials are looking at implementing such a policy. â€œThatâ€™s exactly why we think we should have a policy,â€? he says. â€œSo we do balance civil rights with property rights.â€? Surprisingly, says Statler, city staff was unable to base the proposed policy on those of other cities, simply because SLO is among the first to construct such a policy.