Suburban Dayton police are using a network of public and private cameras to solve crimes
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has renewed funding through next summer for a program it calls TALEN (Technology Anonymized Law Enforcement Notification). This series of public and private cameras, operated by the vendor FUSUS, is being piloted by Dayton Police, Miamisburg Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Trotwood and West Carrollton.
Attorney General Dave Yost describes it as a “high-tech neighborhood watch” that covers a much larger area with the idea that “individual neighbors and businesses contribute extra eyes and ears in real time so police can watch what is going on.”
Yost says privacy is paramount and everyone gets to decide how much access they want to give.
“No one is coerced. This isn’t hacked or tapped or commandeered,” says Yost. “This is all on a voluntary basis, just like a block watch. The only difference is instead of Mrs. Grundy looking out her living room window, it’s her Ring doorbell.”
The ACLU has questions
Chief ACLU of Ohio Lobbyist Gary Daniels first learned of TALEN when it was renewed in August.
“What exactly is the type of technology used for and what is it not used for," he asks. "For instance, maybe there is something out there that says, ‘We will use this for carjackings, kidnappings, murders,' things of that nature — is it that narrow or is it all bets are off we’ll use it for whatever?”
Daniels says Dayton is one of two Ohio cities that's passed a law regulating the use of surveillance technology. However, the City Commission did give police access to the TALEN system from FUSUS.
Daniels wants to know more about what the five police agencies using the system are doing with it.
The ACLU says it will file records requests to find out the answers to some of these questions.