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Superior Police Department seeking new camera system for summer trial

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 9:05 PM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI. (KBJR 6) -- The Superior Police Department is hoping for a new camera system they say will help identify and track down vehicles involved in crimes.

20 new cameras from Flock Safety could soon be in use throughout the city.

“It’s a system that uses technology to help give police officers leads on criminal activity: recover things like stolen vehicles and alert us to things like Amber Alerts,” said Captain Paul Winterscheidt with SPD.

They want to test the cameras out in a 45-day trial period this summer. Then, if successful, they want to permanently install them.

The cameras would be used in some of the most trafficked areas of Superior, like Tower Avenue, Belknap Avenue, and the exits of the Bong and Blatnik bridges.

Inga Weis lives and works in Superior. She said she’s not sure how increased use of cameras would go over in the city.

“I think it’s really hard to draw the proper line when it comes to those kinds of levels of authority,” Weis said.

SPD said concerns from citizens about privacy are valid.

“One of the main things we hear are privacy concerns and we certainly respect that,” Winterscheidt said. “This system here, in particular, is really attractive to us, because it mitigates a lot of privacy concerns through thoughtful design.”

Winterscheidt said thoughtful design takes out human bias, so rather than pulling just any car over, the cameras work through a specific list of known criminally associated vehicles.

Nonetheless, Weis said she believes building relationships, rather than implementing new technology, is the best way to make the community feel safe.

“Just developing more comfortability between authority members and civilians is part of what brings people into a state of feeling safe overall,” Weis said.

Superior Police presented the camera system to the city’s public safety committee last week.

The topic is expected to come up during full council meetings next month.

One camera costs $2,500 per year.

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