Tampa Police: surveillance cameras have proven useful - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Police: surveillance cameras have proven useful

Posted: Updated:

We now know it was video from the Lord & Taylor Department store in Boston that gave us those first images of the Boston bombing suspects: the somewhat grainy black-and-white shots that gave the public the first glimpse of the Tsarnaev brothers.

Some see the electronic eyes as a major supplement in helping police stay ahead of criminals or tracing their steps after a crime. Others see the ever-expanding world of cameras as a risk; an infringement of civil liberties.

"In the private sector you're on camera almost all the time: the grocery store, the bank, the gas station," said Asst. Chief John Bennett, of the Tampa Police Department. "They've proven useful."

In case you missed it the city is also utilizing video for itself now. It happened after Tampa bought $2 million worth of cameras for the 2012 Republican National Convention through a federal grant.

"When you get an event that rises to the level of a national special security event, which is what the RNC was, there's a certain level of risk which comes with managing that kind of event," Bennett said. "So you really do have a responsibility; you have something layered in your security plan in the technology realm, which is what we had."

"Obviously it proved valuable for Boston in that unfortunate tragedy."

Bennett says the city's camera systems have already proved useful. During Gasparilla, officers used the equipment to scan the crowds for suspicious bags. In November they tracked down a suspect they wanted for an attack on a woman in a parking garage.

"We've already had a serious crime with the surveillance system in place that we were able to solve within about a half a day," Bennett said. "By the close of business - we had somebody in custody."

But when the city council voted on whether to pay for the $186,000 a year to keep the cameras going - some residents worried about privacy and civil liberties.

"They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberties nor safety," said community activist Mark Klutho, who was quoting Ben Franklin.

Some groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, fear that police could unconstitutionally misuse cameras. Take this story just last year, for instance, from Boston's CBS station.

Police started using high-tech cameras to scan license plates and the ACLU wanted more information about who gets recorded and how long police keep the recordings.

"It's basically a way around the Fourth Amendment," Kade Crockford of the ACLU told CBS Boston. "That requires that police get a warrant in order to search our belongings or find out where we're going, if they're doing it over a long period of time."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:59:51 GMT
    The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
  • Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:46:44 GMT
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
  • Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:04:56 GMT
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.