Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Milwaukee Ald. Donovan’s Ill-Conceived Surveillance Scheme Amateurish

According to media reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and his own press release, Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan has procured a recycled armored truck equipped with surveillance cameras for his crime fighting group “Operation Impact.” The Milwaukee Police Department will accept the vehicle, although they did not ask for it, according to a MPD spokesperson. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is concerned that the Alderman appears to be offering his constituents publicity rather than the professional policing they deserve.

“South side residents face crime, poverty, and family hardships just like other city residents," said ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Christopher Ahmuty. "However, these conditions are no excuse for the second-rate police service the alderman is offering. The alderman’s scheme will tend to divert police resources. It will also tip off criminals who will see the armored truck parked on their block, thereby giving them a chance to move their operations.

“The Milwaukee Police Department trains its officers in proper and legal surveillance and search procedures. The alderman should leave policing decisions to police commanders. Residents don’t need amateurs to protect them. The alderman shows a disturbing willingness to put his schemes ahead of the reputation of innocent residents and professional police.”

The ACLU was quoted on this issue in the Bay View Compass, on WSAW.com, NBC's TMJ4 , and there was a story including an ACLU quote and a video on the surveillance truck on Fox 6 in Milwaukee.