ACLU Knocks Spy Cams; City Council to Vote Tuesday Night


The ACLU of Sacramento said the Sacramento City Council risks invading the privacy of average citizens – and doing little to combat crime – if it accepts a grant from Homeland Security for 32 surveillance cameras and four mobile units at its Tuesday meeting.

The hearing is set for City Hall Tuesday, 6 p.m, with an ACLU press briefing at 5:30 p.m.

The Sacramento City Council is expected to be presented with a proposal to accept the grant Tuesday after no real public hearing, something that is bothersome to civil libertarians. The ACLU is recommending a series of community town halls to allow citizens to comment.

But, the City has refused to hold a real hearing – it only is allowing 15 minutes to discuss the issue Tuesday. The City also hasn’t thoroughly responded to ACLU records requests, and the surveillance camera grant is camouflaged as “closed circuit TV system” on the council’s agenda.

“Video surveillance is very intrusive,” said Jim Updegraff, chair of the ACLU board of directors in Sacramento, in a letter to Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. He added that the cameras could also “enhance…racial profiling.”

“Study after study has shown surveillance cameras are ineffectual in reducing crime against persons,”*** wrote Updegraff, noting that “we (ACLU) are opposed to the grant going forward (Tuesday) without the participation of concerned citizens.”