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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Police leader expresses concern about proposed surveillance cameras

The government plans to install 50,000 electronic surveillance cameras in high-crime areas.

By The Star Staff

The president of the Association of Members of the Puerto Rico Police, José J. Taboada De Jesús, expressed concern about the governor’s plan to install 50,000 electronic surveillance cameras in high-crime areas as they could potentially be used to spy on citizens.

The police leader asked Governor Pedro Pierluisi to appoint a special commission to discuss and work with the criminal surveillance strategy and the use of artificial intelligence to capture digital images of citizen behavior.

“The Association of Members of the Puerto Rico Police raises a “red flag” in response to the announcement made by the directors of the country’s Security Forces, in reaction to the murder of police officer Eliezer Ramos in the problematic Sabana Abajo Public Housing project in Carolina. Our organization supports the use of artificial intelligence, including surveillance cameras or any legal method or tool available to combat and prevent crime. However, with all the past experiences in this country, we must plan and update a strategy before carrying out the project,” he said.

Before awarding a tender for the cameras, he said the Government must create a Special Commission that includes members of the Civil Rights Commission, members of Faith Base organizations, retired Police colleagues, military personnel who have worked in the area of security in the Armed Forces, prosecutors from the Department of Justice, security employees in the Correctional System, agents of the Police Bureau in charge of electronic surveillance and others.

The group of experts will suggest the type of digital electronic device the government should install, he said.

He said none of the installed cameras should point toward a specific residence or business door.

“I oppose any action or method of using Government surveillance cameras to recreate the entry and exit of a residence or business. The Government cannot “record the movement of its citizens without reason unless a court issues an order for such purposes,” he said.

“Let it be clear that the Police Members Association does not sponsor the surveillance of any citizen without any reason. If this occurs, it violates citizens’ rights to privacy and free movement. Knowing the creativity of the senior government officials, we must make this warning,” he said.

In the past, Puerto Rico had a history of creating dossiers on people based on their political convictions.

Likewise, the Police Members Association expressed its concern about the proliferation of surveillance cameras in businesses and residences, whose angle of observation is often unknown. He suggested creating and publishing an official regulation and registry to allow the installation of surveillance cameras outside a home, business, church or any type of public or private structure.

The use and installation of an external electronic surveillance camera must be associated with the public availability of the collected data so that any affected citizen must have access to the recording made at a given time. The regulation to be created must contain the immediate provision of what was recorded, and if it is not provided, the owner or operator of the system must be sanctioned.

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Chencho Smith
Chencho Smith
Apr 09

Body cams for all so-called Law Enforcement. Tout le monde deteste le police! Corrupt cops rule these streets, WORLDWIDE!


Aurea Ciuro
Aurea Ciuro
Apr 08

It is a good idea to install the cameras on the traffic lights. That is how they have them in all United States.

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