VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - The Vancouver Police Department is launching a new program that grants officers access to registered public surveillance cameras.
Officers will not have direct access to the footage captured by the cameras of those who choose to register, the police department says.
Vancouver is not the first city to implement a program like this; in fact, Portland has one, too.
The Community Camera Registration Program is meant to give officers another tool to solve crimes, according to officials.
For instance, when a crime is committed, officers can look through a database of registered, privately-owned cameras and request footage to help in their investigation.
Jeff Lanford, owner of Lucky Loan Pawn shop in downtown Vancouver, thinks the program is a great idea, but has one concern.
“I’ve got multiple cameras inside the store and I’ve got a couple outside the store, but they’re all connected together,” Lanford said. “So, I wouldn’t want police to have access to all the cameras. If the two systems were separate, sure.”
According to Vancouver police, before accessing the cameras, officers would have to contact the registered owner by phone or email and request permission.
Lanford says he does see the benefit of this program.
Years ago, he says, a neighboring business was robbed and the owner was shot and killed.
At the time, police asked him for surveillance footage from his exterior cameras, and although Lanford says he provided it, it didn’t capture the shooting.
However, Lanford says he knows that sometimes, surveillance footage is all detectives need to find their suspect.
Anyone who wants to register their home or business surveillance system can do so on the City of Vancouver website .