Gig Harbor police want access to Narrows Bridge toll cameras

GIG HARBOR, Wash. - Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey wants access to cameras from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Toll to help keeping the community safer, but the idea has some people uneasy.

For years, Chief Kelly Busey of the Gig Harbor Police Department says he’s been trying to get access to the cameras at the toll booths on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

“It’s frustrating because it’s legitimate information. Probable cause would have to be established with a judge to get that information, and it still wouldn’t be honored. We use the same process to get bank records or phone records in the case of serious crimes,” Busey said.

State law prohibits the cameras from being used for anything  but tolling. In 2013, the idea to give law enforcement access to the cameras was introduced as a House bill, but never made it all the way through.

Busey says there have been several cases where having access to the photos would have helped solve crimes, or finding missing people, but despite his efforts there has been no change.

“After repeated attempts to get that info, we don’t apply for the search warrant anymore because we know it won’t be honored,” he said.

This year, Busey says the City of Gig Harbor is working with its representatives to try and get this back on law makers agenda.

“It’s fair enough if there is an Amber Alert - they can see or track the car and see if it’s crossed the bridge - or if they’re looking for someone who robbed a bank,” said Hunter Fennell who drives the bridge often.

However, not everyone agrees law enforcement should have access to these photos.

“I think it’s wrong that they would be tracking us with video cameras that were made for tolling,” said Rob Biehl.

Biehl lives in Gig Harbor. He believes there are not enough controls in place to make sure the pictures are being used appropriately.

“It’s too much power to give to one guy,” he said.