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APEC security cameras set for final City Council vote

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 07:16 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

A City Council committee has put its stamp of approval on the installation of 34 security cameras across key sections of Oahu in preparation for the arrival of 21 world leaders and their entourages for this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative summit in Waikiki in November.

In voting 4-1 Tuesday to approve the resolution, members of the Council's Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee raised reservations about how the cameras might be an imposition on people's civil liberties. But they also said the safety of APEC participants and local residents supersedes privacy concerns.

Police officials said the cameras are not intended to discourage public protests.

"We want to make sure that people understand that the Police Department respects everybody's right to peacefully demonstrate and makes no distinction as to the purpose, message or any intent of any group," Deputy Chief Marie McCauley said.

Police Maj. Clayton Kau said the cameras will be used to manage traffic, supplement security measures and "provide situational awareness."

"If we see anything violent going on, then we will send officers to that location," McCauley said. "If we see a traffic jam, we will re-route a motorcade."

The new cameras will augment 26 existing security cameras in Chinatown and six others in Waikiki.

Council members requested, and were given Tuesday, a list of where the 34 cameras will be located.

The cameras would not record "unless there was a major event," McCauley said.

After the summit, all but four of the cameras are to be turned over to the city Department of Transportation Services and will be used primarily for traffic monitoring.

Councilman Nestor Garcia, who cast the only "no" vote, said police could not show that surveillance cameras were used, or used effectively, at the most recent APEC conferences in Yokohama, Japan; Singapore; Thailand; and Lima, Peru.

"I'm concerned about the chilling effect that this would have on the civil rights that are going to be exercised by the people who no doubt will be protesting for whatever reason," Garcia said.

Councilman Breene Harimoto said he empathizes with those concerned about the rights of protesters. "The idea of civil rights is great, and we need to protect that," he said. "But on the other hand, the risk of public safety is real, and I believe that HPD needs these tools to ensure the safety of Honolulu residents as well as the APEC participants."

The resolution goes for a final vote before the full Council Oct. 5.

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edsunrise wrote:
Councilman Tom Berg here- I voted for the cameras because we get to keep them afterwards and utilize them as traffic cameras. My goal is to get the uninsured motorists off the road with the cameras---other cities are using cameras to scan license plates and have access to data from DMV and insurance providers---resulting in overnight traffic relief without any construction headaches no need to spend billions on a rail system that only takes 1-3% of the cars off the roads...while scanning license plates could remove 40% from our roads that don't belong on our roads and truly bring us traffic congestion relief and safer roads instantly.
on September 28,2011 | 04:51AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
So traffic trumps civil rights? So much for individual freedoms as espoused by the Tea Party.
on September 28,2011 | 07:25AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Please explain what civil rights are being trumped by the security camers.
on September 28,2011 | 04:55PM
Sunny wrote:
Big Brother is keeping an eye on you!
on September 28,2011 | 08:01AM
peles_fire wrote:
Invasion of privacy? In New York state, the troopers, aka state police, have camera mounts on the front and rear of their patrol cars and continually scanned all vehicles for any outstanding warrants while on patrol. To be clear, this included unpaid traffic fines, parking violations, alimony defaults, well, just about anything. These procedures compounded by Patriot Act incursions in to our daily lives are alarming. Some would say, "If you didn't do anything you have nothing to worry about." To those I would say it is much more than that. I have a number of issues with the ACLU but I am happy that someone is safeguarding our constitutional right to privacy.
on September 28,2011 | 08:33AM
Ronin006 wrote:
peles_fire, you have no constitutional right to privacy in public areas.
on September 28,2011 | 04:57PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
If this is indeed Councilman Tom Berg shame on you for spending taxpayer money at a time when our economic conditions are bleak. You should be looking for ways to reduce the size of city government. In addition to these costs, you will now have long term maintenance fees to contend with. With the sheer number of cameras I wouldn't be surprised to see additional labor hired to support it. If you want to get uninsured motorists off the road fix the broken law.
on September 28,2011 | 01:19PM
edsunrise wrote:
The money for the cameras came from the feds- the grant came before my tenure on the council as I did not get to vote on the expenditure- just the deployment of the cameras - yes- it is Tom Berg here. If I had my way, I would have declined the camera expenditure. However, since I cannot stop it- my position is to use the cameras- since they remain with us after the APEC shindig, for scanning license plates for uninsured motorists...they say 4 out of 10 are driving on our roads without proper car insurance....who needs a rail that will only remove 1-3% off the roads when a few cameras can get rid of some 40%
on September 28,2011 | 09:08PM
Wazdat wrote:
Big brother is watching. What a JOKE this whole apec cr@p is. We dont do things for the safety of residents or tourists just these apec clowns. SAD
on September 28,2011 | 08:08AM
akuman808 wrote:
Why don't you folks upgrade the sewage treatment plant with the intended funds you are thinking about spending on these camera's? Priorities, priorities.
on September 28,2011 | 08:15AM
Kuokoa wrote:
What I'd llike to see is a comparison of costs if we were to hire enough police and security officers to do the same thing as the cameras can do. I think people would be astounded by the higher cost to hire people rather than using the cheaper technology. This IS a better way to protect civil rights with a lower cost.
on September 28,2011 | 08:35AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
I would not be surprised if someone ends up painting over the lens of the cameras.
on September 28,2011 | 10:19AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
I would not be surprised if someone ends up painting over the lens of the cameras.
on September 28,2011 | 10:19AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
I finally agree with a Nestor Garcia vote but for the wrong reason. Hawaii has sadly become overtaxed no thanks to current and previous politicians. We need to stop thinking of ways to spend money. Its sad to see City Council members swayed by overzealous cops who have no historical perspective on Hawaii's relatively non-combative protesters.
on September 28,2011 | 01:06PM
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