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Mar 13, 2012 2:22 PM by Andy Koen

Citizen volunteers would monitor downtown cameras

Colorado Springs City Council will take public comment this afternoon on a proposal to install 10 new video surveillance cameras at various points through downtown. Steve Cox, the chief of staff for Mayor Steve Bach took a limited number of questions about the proposal during the mayor's monthly media briefing this morning.

He said the cameras would be monitored by a group of citizen volunteers and were necessary to improve public safety in the area. Cox cited to illicit drug trafficking at Acacia Park and bar fights along Tejon Street as examples of crimes that could be deterred with the presence of 24 video monitoring.

Estimates to purchase and install the cameras range between $163,000 and $180,000. Cox said an initial group of around 400 trained volunteers would be needed to begin the monitoring. That number would eventually grow to 1,100.

A handout prepared by Chief of Police Pete Carey states that volunteers would be trained to ensure that individual rights are protected. That training would include information on civil liberties, discriminatory practices, proper use of active monitoring capabilities, how to identify suspicious or criminal behavior as well as incidents that require immediate police response.

Cox also stated that the public at large would not be able to view the video feed. However, he said that Chief Carey would be able to answer specific questions about privacy concerns at the city council meeting this afternoon.

Chuck Murphy of Murphy Construction and the chair of the Downtown Renaissance Solutions Team also spoke in support of the measure.

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