Public forum on York City surveillance proposal scheduled for Tuesday

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
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York City residents will have the opportunity to share their opinions about a proposed citywide surveillance network at a public forum on Tuesday.

The event to discuss the proposed YorkSafeNet program will take place from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum, 217 W Princess St. It will be led by Montez Parker, the lead consultant for a feasibility study of the potential program, according to a news release.

“We want to have a relaxed, inviting community forum that allows people to be honest, open and up front,” Parker said.

The public forum will be the first of its kind in York that is explicitly dedicated to gauging the public's interest in the citywide surveillance network proposal. 

More:York NAACP mulling public forum, polling about city surveillance proposal

More:ACLU: Surveillance network would target York City's minorities

Whether the program is ever adopted is contingent upon the public's response.

Those wishing to attend Tuesday's forum are encouraged to register by sending an email to YorkSafeNet@gmail.com. Public input can also be submitted using the online form here.

Further public input will be collected through additional public forums and electronic opinion surveys.

A steering committee of leaders from neighborhoods, community organizations and law enforcement also has been formed to advise consultants working to assess the program's potential.

The feasibility study could take three to four months to complete, Parker said, adding that he would not be involved with the implementation of a surveillance system if the city were to move forward with a proposal.

York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow first unveiled that the city was mulling the creation of a surveillance program last month.

The program would be run by owned and operated by a nonprofit organization with a community board, similar to the work of the Lancaster Safety Coalition.

That organization runs a network of 170 cameras in Lancaster City, and its work has been lauded by both Muldrow and Mayor Michael Helfrich.

While police and attorneys are widely supportive of the initiative, others have critiqued the surveillance proposal and alleged it would target the city's Black community.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been the harshest critic, and the York NAACP has not yet released a statement about the proposal.

When asked about those concerns, Parker said those discussions will be crucial at public forums to explore whether the city could implement a system that residents are comfortable with.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.