KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Kalamazoo has pushed back the decision on whether to implement a “real-time crime center” that would allow police to monitor camera feeds throughout the city.
The city says it would allow them to respond to emergencies or solve crimes. But there’s some pushback on the plan. Some people spoke out at the city commission meeting.
The issue wasn’t even supposed to be up for discussion at Monday night’s meeting, but the commission moved it to the regular agenda because of feedback from the community. City commissioners ultimately unanimously voted to postpone the decision until their June 20 meeting.
The real-time crime center is a high-tech tool that would allow police, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety in this case, to access real-time data and surveillance camera feeds owned by the city and from participating businesses.
KDPS believes it will help them better respond to emergencies and solve investigations.
The proposal is a three-year, $375,000 contract with Fusus, the maker of the crime center video and collaboration platform. A hundred thousand dollars of that money is coming from the Peregrine Foundation.
But all citizen comments Monday night were against the proposal, arguing there has been no transparency. Some had concerns about where the money is coming from.
“Proposal submitted to the city commission is purposely vague, giving no hard details on the proposed surveillance areas or usage, nor does it give the results or location of the secretive trial held earlier in January,” said one resident.
“No business, nonprofit or otherwise, is registered as the Peregrine Foundation — which leads me to believe, unless a tax identification number can be shared with me, that the Peregrine Foundation does not exist,” said another.
Although Peregrine Foundation was written in the agenda, the Grant Agreement document says the money comes from the Hall Foundation Downtown Initiative Fund.
Assistant City Manager Rebekah Kik confirmed funding came from the Hall Community Initiative Fund, held at Kalamazoo Community Foundation that was set up by the property owners of Peregrine Towers.
Addressing commissioners, KDPS Chief David Boysen said the program does not use facial recognition technology because it is unreliable. Private businesses can voluntarily participate, by opt-in only. He said this allows for more efficient detective work with the already existing cameras already being used by the city.
Commissioners are expected to vote on the matter during their June 20 meeting.