Get the facts On Surveillance

Get the facts on surveillance

What do you feel when you hear that word – surveillance? Maybe a little uncomfortable like you’re being micromanaged or judged?

You’re not alone. Let’s dive in.

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Get The Facts

Following recent crises, the NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch wants to inform you that local surveillance policies have been updated to answer these questions. The acquiring and usage of city surveillance equipment now undergoes a more rigorous process.

City Commission

These additional steps involve an appeal to and approval from the Grand Rapids City Commission for the interests of Grand Rapids citizens and prohibit harassment, intimidation, or discrimination against any individual or group. And the City Commission will collaborate with the newly created surveillance oversight committee made up of community members and city commissioners. This committee will play a vital role in deciding if any city agency will purchase and use surveillance equipment.

Detailed Reports

There will be mandatory surveillance reports about the purchase and use of the technology that will be publicly accessible on the city’s website and detail the purpose, type, time usage, location of the use of surveillance equipment. Most importantly, it will provide information on the impact of the surveillance equipment and any related complaints broken down by race, gender, age, and ward. These reports will also provide information on how much money was spent on each surveillance device and what is the source of the funding. The Office of Oversight and Public Accountability will keep these records and will address any complaints and questions.

Have Peace Of Mind

The hope is that community members are now empowered to work with the city government on keeping the city we call home safe and secure for all residents, no matter the ward or zip code.

Have more questions? Download the administrative policy.

Requests for Acquisition of Surveillance Equipment or Services

Any City department intending to acquire, use, or deploy new surveillance equipment or surveillance services after March 24, 2015, shall obtain City Commission approval prior to the initial acquisition, use, or deployment of that equipment or service.

Once authority is granted to acquire, use, or deploy new surveillance equipment or surveillance services, a City department does not have to seek authority for each individual use or deployment of the same surveillance equipment or surveillance service, so long as the department does not exceed the grant of authority provided to the department at the time of the original authorization to acquire, use or deploy surveillance equipment or services. The process by which a City department shall seek to obtain City Commission approval is as follows: 

Update to Public Safety Committee and Request for a Public Hearing

A City department shall first provide a briefing regarding the requested surveillance equipment to the Public Safety Committee of the Grand Rapids City Commission at a properly noticed meeting called pursuant to provisions of the Open Meetings Act and the City department shall also request that the Public Safety Committee set a public hearing on this matter before the Grand Rapids City Commission. Should the Public Safety Committee deny a request for a public hearing, or any other approvals in this process, the City Manager may bring a request before the entire City Commission for reconsideration. The Briefing must include a description of all proposed Operational Protocols and Data Management protocols associated with the use of this technology.

Public Hearing Before the Grand Rapids City Commission

The acquisition, use, or deployment of new surveillance equipment or surveillance services shall not be approved without holding a properly noticed public hearing before the Grand Rapids City Commission.

Fiscal Approval

Request to acquire new surveillance equipment or surveillance services shall be presented to the Fiscal Committee of the City Commission, at a properly noticed and posted meeting called pursuant to the Open Meetings 4 Act.

Standard of Approval

The decision to acquire, use, or deploy new surveillance equipment or surveillance services shall be made in the best interest of Grand Rapidians. Decisions to approve the acquisition, use, or deployment of new surveillance equipment or surveillance services shall consider the fiscal impacts of the purchase, community impact, privacy interest of impacted individuals, and ensure that the uses of the technology will not be based upon discriminatory practices or factors.

Our mission is to provide the people of the Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area an outlet to combat unsolicited surveillance.

NAACP, Grand Rapids, MI

The Betterment of All

Your safety and well being are of the upmost concern to us. By providing the information needed to spread awareness of unlawful surveillance, we hope to create safer communities in the Grand Rapids Area. 

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