Everett considers public cameras to address violent crime

The current reality is Everett and several other communities in western Washington are still dealing with a shortage of officers and resources in law enforcement. Now, city leaders are considering ideas about how technology can help the police department address violent crimes in areas that need more attention. 

The city and Everett Police Department will hear discussions about adding surveillance cameras in public spaces, including Casino Road and Walter Hall Park.

The police department asked Madres de Casino Road, a local nonprofit, to partner in hosting a community conversation on May 23 about the idea of installing camera systems in public spaces.

In a statement, the police department wrote, "Members of the department will be attending that meeting to share more about Flock Safety camera technology that the City is looking to deploy. This is one of the ways the City is looking to leverage innovative technologies to reduce violent crime and improve community safety."

"We saw that they want to be transparent with our community. They could go and put the cameras up without telling anybody, right? But they don’t want to do that. They want to have that conversation," Paula Marshall, director of operations at Madres de Casino Road.

According to its website, Flock Safety "is an American manufacturer and operator of automated license plate recognition, video surveillance, and gunfire locator systems."

Casino Road and Walter Hall Park are some of the proposed public spaces that could see camera systems installed.

"Casino Road has always had a bad reputation," said Marshall. "I do know that the city and the police department are trying to make it better, to make it safer. It’s not an easy fight, but little by little we are seeing improvements."

Madres de Casino Road was founded in 2014 and has been headquartered on the infamous street since the beginning. The nonprofit stands by its mission of empowering the community through education.

"By giving our community education, they have a very powerful tool for them to become free of doing many things in life," said Marshall. "We offer classes from GED to literacy classes, English classes, vocational classes, so people can opt to have another career in their life."

The power of education is one reason why Marshall said Madres de Casino Road agreed to host the community conversation with Everett Police Department. She said it will provide an opportunity for people to learn about Flock Safety and the department’s goals for using the technology, though she mentioned some people may need more convincing. 

"I don’t do much, but I don’t want to be watched. But, I mean, they explained to me what the cameras would do, and what they would not do," said Marshall. "They gave us data on what these cameras have done in other cities, not only Washington, but in other states." 

The public will have two opportunities to hear how surveillance cameras and technology could help address violent crimes. The first opportunity will be a full presentation on Flock Safety and its products. That presentation will be heard at Everett City Council Chambers on May 22 starting at 5:00 p.m. during the Safe Community Council Committee.

The second opportunity is the community discussion hosted by Everett Police Department and Madres de Casino Road. The event will begin at 6:30 P.M. at the nonprofit’s headquarters, located at 14 E Casino Road, Building D. 

"Ask questions," said Marshall. "We encourage them to question them. They have to give us accountability of what they’re doing in their city."


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