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Wendy Reuer, Published August 21 2012

Some say downtown surveillance cameras misuse of taxpayer money

FARGO – Some residents here say the police department’s plan to install temporary cameras in the NP Avenue area at the request of businesses is a misuse of taxpayer money.

Anthony Gehrig wrote a letter to the Fargo City Commission last week saying the cameras are an unnecessary expense and a violation of the public’s rights.

Police plan to install three cameras along the NP Avenue corridor to record and feed video to the police station 24 hours a day. The $9,000 camera system came at the request of business owners in the area that say property crimes are on the rise.

At Monday’s commission meeting, Gehrig said crime statistics can be misleading and if businesses want cameras, they should install them.

“The taxpayers should not be forced to pay $9,000 for private security,” he said.

Police Chief Keith Ternes said the cameras are just another law enforcement resource.

“It is nothing more than a tool, one that is used quite widely throughout the country in terms of assisting law enforcement in reducing and minimizing crime and providing additional security for communities.”

The temporary cameras on NP Avenue will be able to be moved and used elsewhere if needed.

The commission took no action on the matter Monday night. Ternes said he would bring forward a report on the effectiveness of the cameras to the City Commission in three to six months.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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