King County Library System uninstalling surveillance cameras

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by NATASHA RYAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 6, 2011 at 10:07 PM

DES MOINES, Wash. --  City leaders are angry in Des Moines. At Thursday night's council meeting there wasn't a shortage of opinions over the decision to uninstall surveillance cameras at King County libraries.

City Manager, Tony Piasecki said he was "appalled and shocked that this was their solution."  The point of contention began less than two months ago when the Des Moines Police Department wanted surveillance video of the parking lot of the Woodmont branch. There was a robbery and they believed the suspect could be in the video. They were told no, to get a search warrant. It's policy the KCLS not hand over video without one. Officers argue the process wastes too much time when they already have limited resources and time.  Once police obtained the video they were able to almost immediately make an arrest.

"Cameras are reasonable. They help solve and deter crime. We believe their decision to remove cameras is putting their patrons' safety at risk." Sgt. Bob Collins says removing the cameras is unreasonable.  The Library System's Director, Bill Ptacek disagrees. "Having cameras inside the library is contrary to the whole purpose and philosophy of the library." He adds the system will save 30 grand a year by not having to maintain the cameras.
 

Ptacek says as soon as public works can get around to it, they'll start the uninstalling process. Des Moines Mayor, Bob Sheckler says this whole thing has gone too far.  He's contacting the Library Board of Trustees Monday to ask them to reverse the decision.

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