Briefs: Police plan to expand surveillance | July 24, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 24, 2013

Briefs: Police plan to expand surveillance

by Sandy Brundage

Four surveillance cameras will be added to the Menlo Park Police Department's arsenal if city officials agree. The cameras would be mounted at intersections not yet determined, Police Chief Robert Jonsen told the council during a presentation on July 16.

The police department is also testing automated license plate readers borrowed from other jurisdiction while developing a privacy and data retention policy in conjunction with city staff and council members.

During their July 16 meeting, council members discussed best practices for data retention, and asked for a representative of the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which will store the license plate data, to give a presentation regarding its privacy policies.

Already underway is a pilot program to arm seven officers with Tasers. Menlo Park was one of only two cities in San Mateo County that didn't use the devices. In 2011 the San Mateo County grand jury recommended their implementation.

According to Chief Jonsen, the officers will log every time a Taser is removed from its holster, whether it's fired or not. He expects Tasers may save the city money. From 2010 to 2012, the police department had 13 claims filed for injuries sustained while subduing suspects and the equivalent of 150 work days lost, costing Menlo Park at least $68,708.

Three seats open on

transportation panel

Three seats will be open this year on the Menlo Park Transportation Commission. The summer application deadline is July 31 and the fall deadline Sept. 27.

Go to to download an application (PDF) or contact acting City Clerk Pam Aguilar at 330-6620 or for more information.


Like this comment
Posted by Easy Does It
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Tasers? Surveillance cameras on our streets? Automated license plate readers? Government spying on innocent residents going about their business in our quiet little suburb?

Sounds more like East Germany under the Stasi.

Remember our Constitutional protections, and what they were intended to protect us from, i.e. tyrannical government!

Like this comment
Posted by where is the LINE
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Surveillance cameras. Red light cameras. License plate readers.

For those that argue that the above are legal, and seek the alleged security they may provide, I ask: where is the line? The line YOU draw that says big government intrusion has gone too far for you, or too far for the constitutionally protected right to privacy?

Funny thing about those that think bi intrusive governments get to get away with all this - they never offer an explanation of what is "too much".

Is it too much if the government points a camera from the street, points it onto your 'property'? Drones flying overhead and recording everything, including your back yard? Wall piercing vision devices on a drone?

If you think massive collection and storage of license plate data is okay, then please tell me where you draw the line.

Pending your rational answer, I'll stick with the ACLU.

Like this comment
Posted by Ricki
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

The line is The Constitution.

The security over civil liberty meme seems pretty dumb when you look at that post in PA online: more Americans have died this year from gun toting toddlers, than for terrorists.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This is a serious infringement of our privacy. We know from past experience that not all law enforcement personnel can be relied upon to respect or protect the information that police officers collect. This is the thin end of the wedge.

Just say, "No!"

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

We know from experience that not all people that buy binoculars respect the privacy of those around them. Let's ban binoculars!

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In addition to banning binoculars maybe we should not hire any police officers who can remember what that saw more than 24 hours ago.