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Cameras help the human eye


school-hallwayWe always have to be cognizant of privacy rights when installing cameras.  I could never support cameras in restrooms or athletic locker rooms.  But I also don’t see cameras usurping the human eye, just…

This spring, the provincial government in British Columbia passed legislation allowing school planning councils to install video surveillance cameras on campuses with only the general intention of improving safety.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association and others immediately asked that the law be repealed due to privacy concerns.  Previously, planning councils could install school cameras only after first demonstrating there was a specific need for them.

A representative of the Vancouver Public Space Network argued that cameras should be deployed only as a last resort to protect the safety of people and property.

“We are concerned about the lessons that kids will learn about their responsibilities as citizens if electronic surveillance usurps the human eye as the go-to for ensuring safety,” the spokesperson wrote in a letter to the B.C. education minister.

I agree–we always have to be cognizant of privacy rights when installing cameras.  I could never support cameras in restrooms or athletic locker rooms.  But I also don’t see cameras usurping the human eye, just giving it a helping hand.  It’s great to have people monitoring our children and school facilities, but we can’t station people in all places at all times.  Cameras help fill that void.

Currently, more than 25 districts in British Columbia use cameras on their campuses.

PatrickFielPatrick Fiel is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.

Follow Patrick Fiel on Twitter.

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