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Open Letter to the Santa Cruz City Council Re: Reconsideration of Justice Assistance Grant
Council Needs to Hear the Voice of the People
PLEASE SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ONE OR ALL OF YOUR COUNCIL MEMBERS AND JOIN US FOR A COMMUNITY FORUM ON FEBRUARY 12TH AT 7:00 AT LOUDEN NELSON COMMUNITY CENTER:
Dear City Council Member,
It is my understanding that council has approved the acceptance of a Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $37,000 designated for the purchase of Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) to be utilized by the Santa Cruz Police Department. I am concerned that this proposed purchase and use reflects an increasing lack of privacy in our community and could potentially work to diminish the civil liberties cherished by the citizens of Santa Cruz.
We live in an increasingly informational age and I am concerned that employing these devises would result in “batch gathering” of information in the absence of clear guidelines about how long this data would be stored and how the data would be used over time.
While I understand that the capture of data stored for a limited time and used narrowly for designated police purposes may not raise civil liberty concerns, the pursuit of public safety must be balanced against the potential invasion of personal privacy the use of these devices represent. This is a concern that I believe is shared by many members of our community.
I would, therefore, respectfully request that council reconsider its decision in this matter by directing staff to prepare a full report on proposed guidelines for use of these devices together with consideration of their potential impacts on our civil liberties. I would further respectfully request that council thereafter re-agendize this matter for a fuller community discussion.
A Concerned Citizen