DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A real-time crime monitoring tool will soon be deployed in downtown Dayton.
After a heated debate Wednesday night between Dayton City Commission members, the majority voted 3-2 to approve the technology, which is called FUSUS.
The Dayton Police Department can now begin a pilot program to test if the technology will work for the city.
With the technology, businesses allow their surveillance cameras to be included in the FUSUS network. When a 911 call comes in, the system identifies cameras in the area that have a live feed. Officers can then access that camera to get real-time video of the scene they’re responding to.
Businesses that do not want police to have access to their cameras live can join a registry instead. The registry would have a list of cameras that police can request video from after an incident happens.
The funding for the pilot program comes through the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, which approached several agencies in Montgomery County to test the program.
Several community members spoke against using FUSUS, and said this technology raises concerns about its use in minority communities.
“This is yet another impact report that completely ignores truly addressing that adverse impact to black and brown communities,” Destiny Brown from Dayton said.
Commissioner Shenise Turner-Sloss said she is in favor of piloting the technology, but voted no until there is more information on its impact.
“It was mentioned this evening that the data is there that shows how this surveillance technology disproportionately affects black and brown communities,” Turner-Sloss said. “And so, we need to come together as a body, identify those safeguards to make sure that we are protecting the residents in this community.”
However, Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal said this is going to make it easier for law enforcement to prevent and solve crimes.
“Eyewitness information is not the most accurate,” Afzal said. “But you know, video captures what it captures.”
The pilot program will only run in downtown Dayton, where the department already has some surveillance cameras placed. Some at Wednesday’s meeting said they hope to see it come to their neighborhood.
“I know this is going to be in downtown Dayton primarily, but I sure wish we could get it in Westwood in the future,” Gregg Epps, who lives in Dayton and is also a community leader in the Westwood neighborhood, said.
Now the technology is approved by city commission, Afzal said he hopes the department can implement within the next 30 to 60 days. The pilot will run until June 30.
After that, Dayton police will have to come back to the commissioners to approve the funding needed to keep the technology running.