Flint considering ordinance requiring security cameras at certain businesses

Published: Oct. 16, 2019 at 7:01 PM EDT
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(10/16/2019) - Sixteen surveillance cameras capture the inside of The White Horse in downtown Flint, as well as the parking lot and some of the streets surrounding the restaurant.

"When we first put 'em in, it was like what are people going to think? What are people going to say? You've gotta have surveillance," co-owner Steve Poulos said. "But from day one, everybody just loved the cameras."

Poulos explained customers feel more comfortable and so does he.

The footage his cameras have recorded has even helped police.

Two of the many reasons why the Mayor and Flint Police Department are hoping to pass an ordinance that would require all of these types of businesses -- new and already existing -- to have surveillance cameras.

"They would allow us access through a web-based program and platform. And we will be able to monitor the cameras, just like they can, on those locations," Sgt. Tyrone Booth explained.

He said the analysts at the Intel Center inside their Department would keep a close eye.

"And if a call goes out to that location, we can see it; and in many cases prior to 911 ever being dialed, but we can see it certainly after that," Sgt. Booth said.

Aiding the first responders in the investigation and in the prosecution; because they'd have video evidence of the crime.

Sgt. Booth added the cameras would not contain any facial recognition software. The only cost to businesses would be purchasing the cameras.

"This is moving into the new era of how we're fighting crime, you know, and that's with technology," Chief Timothy Johnson said.

He explained the system is their way of making up the lack of officers they're in dire need of.

"One life lost in this city is one too many. So whenever we go to a homicide, the family is looking at us. What happened? What happened Flint Police Department? Why did my family member die in this city or what are you doing to catch this person? This right here is what we're doing to catch this person," he said.

But is it too much?

"You know, people say I don't want to be on camera, I don't want - well, if you're not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?" Poulos said.

Flint's City Council is taking a look at the ordinance and will have a chance to ask more questions before they determine if it should be law.