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Santa Cruz Public Safety Committee Meeting on SCPD Spying
A special meeting of the Public Safety Committee took place March 29, to discuss the results of the Police Auditor's investigation into SCPD infiltration of Last Night Parade planners (the report found that the police spy operation "more than likely" violated the civil rights of parade organizers), and draw up a new policy governing the SCPD's use of surveillance.
No language was ratified at the meeting. The Public Safety Committee agreed to draft a new policy governing police use of surveillance before bringing it to City Council, thus, further delaying action on any meaningful protection of the public's civil liberties.
City Manager Dick Wilson, City Attorney John Barisone, Police Chief Howard Skerry, independent police auditor Bob Aaronson, and ACLU attorney Mark Schlosberg, will meet in the coming weeks to draft clear guidelines that protect the civil rights of citizens, and allow police to use surveillance in certain situations. Once the language is agreed to, the Public Safety Committee will call for ANOTHER special meeting to make recomendations to City Council. It could be months before this process is finalized.
During the discussion, the PSC members questioned Police Chief Skerry on SCPD practices with regards to photo and video surveillance, record-keeping, and intra-agency information sharing. Skerry pointed out some intersting facts:
1) SC Police film and audio record all traffic stops
2) All the County's law enforcement agencies (SVPD, CPD, WPD, SCPD, and SCCSO) routinely share information
3) All records of any "Incident report" are kept for two years before being destroyed
4) All records of any criminal investigation are keot up to 10 years before being destroyed