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Chief on police cameras and scanners

Rochester, N.Y. --- In 2008 the City of Rochester purchased 50 surveillance cameras for the police department.

Today, that has grown into a network of more than one hundred so called blue light cameras deployed all over the city.

Those cameras were initially met by resistance from some citizens who wondered what the cameras would record and where they would be pointed.

The Rochester Police Department claims the cameras helped solve, and prevent crime.

Its been a helpful tool but its not the cure-all, explained Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. A lot of people think that if we put a camera up its going to solve all the problems and thats not true. What it may do is displace crimes, instead of this corner they move into the middle of the block.

Yet Chief Sheppard maintained the cameras are working and mobile blue light camera units are also deployed throughout the city.

A national debate also centers around the use of license plate scanners by police departments. The scanners are mounted on top of police patrol cars and the data is stored, in some cases for an unknown amount of time.

There is a greater risk of misuse that it will be given to someone else who will have a perverse interest in the material so let's err in the side of privacy," Scott Forsythe of the American Civil Liberties Union said.

"The fact of the matter is if you drive a vehicle on a public street anybody can write down that license plate and so if that's the case you really don't have a right to privacy," Chief Sheppard counters.

These are some of the issues and topics 13WHAM News will explore during a town hall event Thursday, October 10, called: Your Privacy, Your Security.

We think that its important to have this debate because I think everybodys going to learn something, Sheppard said.

Chief Sheppard, will be joined by former U.S. Attorney Terrance Flynn, WHAM 1180 talk show host Bob Lonsberry, and citizen Larry Krieger who is pursuing legal action against Rochester because of a red light ticket.

13WHAM's Your Privacy, Your Security Town Hall event will be held at the theater inside The Strongs National Museum of Play.

It will take place on Thursday October, 10 at 7 p.m.

If you're interested in attending register by clicking here.

If you attend, youll be able to enter a drawing for two Bills tickets for the December 22nd game against the Miami Dolphins. And these arent just any ticketsthese are club level seats that include free food and drinks. But you must be present to win.

If you have any additional questions about this town hall event you can contact us at


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