Controversy concerning Phoenix PD surveillance operations

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by Steve Bodinet

azfamily.com

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 2 at 11:08 PM

PHOENIX -- Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who represents District 6 in Phoenix, is upset that a Phoenix Police Department surveillance van was keeping an eye on those tailgating at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday night.

With frustration and sarcasm DiCiccio posted on his Facebook page that as people were eating their hot dogs they were being videotaped by Phoenix Police.

"The concern I have is that the City of Phoenix was out videotaping tailgaters," said DiCiccio. "I just think there has to be reasonable level of privacy that the public can expect from the government."

DiCiccio is now asking the city to define when it's allowed to send the police department surveillance vehicles to sporting and other public events.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton defended the use of the city's police resources at the game saying they're often asked by other cities to lend a hand at large events.

"We are blessed in the City of Phoenix to have the very best trained police officers in the entire state," said Mayor Stanton. "We are blessed also to have some of the most sophisticated homeland security related equipment."

Mayor Stanton added that Arizona State University police requested the surveillance van and in an email to 3TV, ASU police acknowledged that request but added the university never discloses security plans for ASU events.

Still, DiCiccio thinks the city overstepped its boundaries and needs clear rules on when to send its police force out to keep an eye on the public.

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STATEMENT FROM COUNCILMAN DICICCIO REGARDING MAYOR STANTON’S NEWS CONFERENCE
 
“Mayor Greg Stanton wants to video tape law abiding football fans.

It’s absurd that the Mayor of Phoenix thinks it’s OK to send Phoenix PD into Tempe to create a video profile of football fans.   

What happens with the video the Mayor thinks we should keep? 

The public should expect a reasonable level of privacy from their government. 

That means you cannot monitor their everyday activity without a direct policy and/or chain of command of approval before monitoring their activities. 

There should be reasonable cause to have the government enter your private life. 

Mayor Stanton used politician language meant to confuse the public without answering the question. What level of privacy should a normal citizen expect from their government? 

That is the question that I asked.  That is not the question he answered.”
 

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