A new policy for establishing greater transparency on the use of surveillance in Somerville went into effect. Mayor Joseph Curtalone signed an Executive Policy on Surveillance Technology which is believed to be the first of its kind in Massachusetts.
A multi step process is now mandatory before technology can be purchases and operated in the city. The administration must submit any necessary grants or appropriations to the Board of Aldermen prior to acquiring new surveillance equipment and mayoral approval must be preceded by public notification and the opportunity for community meetings.
The policy also outlines protocols oh how police departments well be regulated to protect privacy rights and limit potential abuse. There are also details on how the data will be collected and who will have access to it.
Somerville Police Department will post their policies for video surveillance usage as well as an inventory of all camera locations around the city. According to police, identifying the locations of cameras does not cause more crime, but acts as a deterrent.