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Security cam meeting to be held
Published 2/13/2012
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Pullman police officials will meet with the public on Wednesday to answer questions about the security cameras that will be installed on College Hill this summer.

The public meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the Pullman City Council Chambers and will be the second of three meetings.

The security cameras will likely be placed near Adams Mall and Colorado Street, Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said. Local officials hope it will deter violent crime around that area.

So far, Jenkins said, the response he has received about the cameras has been supportive.

"The feedback has been positive," he said. "Early on when we first announced we were getting the grant, I got one phone call from someone who expressed concerns about privacy issues."

The idea of using security cameras as a crime deterrent is not a new one, Jenkins said.

"It has been discussed over the past four or five years by the police department and city council," he said. "(They've been) looking at putting cameras where we have high incidents of crime, assaults and things like that. There was just never any funding to do it."

In 2010, there were 817 disorderly disputes and disturbance calls, according to the Pullman PD's Annual Report.

More than half of the city's disturbance calls, including assaults and domestic disputes, occur in the College Hill neighborhood, Jenkins said. Thirty percent of those incidents happen near Adams Mall.

About eight cameras will be installed. Each camera will transmit a live video feed to the police station and police cars, according to the "Smart Policing Initiative FAQ" document available on the Pullman PD's Web site.

Video footage associated with a crime will be kept for investigative and prosecution purposes while all other footage will be deleted after a week or two, Jenkins said. The footage will be kept for that time period in case someone reports a crime a few days after it happens.

The previous public meeting regarding the cameras took place at Stubblefields in January and went well, he said.

"I was hoping we'd have more people there," Jenkins said, "but we were having some difficult weather."

For the most part, he said, the majority of feedback he received has been from community members, not students. However he expects a greater student voice during the public meeting in March, which will be hosted by ASWSU and the WSU Police Advisory Committee in the CUB.

The Pullman PD was awarded a $300,000 federal grant last fall, which will fund the cameras'installation. Pullman PD will work with the WSU Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology to fulfill the research requirements of the grant.

Wednesday's meeting will be hosted by the League of Women Voters of Pullman and the Pullman Police Advisory Committee. The third and final public meeting will take place at noon on March 21 in the CUB Lair.

This Tuesday Chief Jenkins will meet with The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board to address student concerns about the cameras. Email questions to editor@dailyevergreen.com or tweet them to @DailyEvergreen.

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