Mar 25, 2016

Allentown's Camera Contract and The Three Monkeys

When I read about Allentown's camera contract I think about the three monkeys. For my millennial readers, let me explain. In my grandparents day, the three monkeys were major advise; See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. In those days naysayers got shot, now a days they become bloggers. I have a set of those monkeys carved from marble that belonged to my grandparents, they sat on their fireplace mantel, as a lesson for their children.

Allentown supposedly has 161 cameras that scan the city looking for evil. How many of them are actually being monitored, and when, is classified information. If they deter crime, or just move it down the street, is debatable.

Although it wasn't a no bid contract,  only a local company, CSI, submitted a proposal. This technicality, and the timing, allows City Council to turn a deaf ear to the contributions by principals of this company to Pawlowski and the PAC that he controlled.  Charlie Thiel, school board member and potential mayoral candidate, is the manager of the company. Thiel has both benefitted from Pawlowski, and has made significant donations to his campaign and PAC.

The city official in charge of our communication systems defended the contract by saying that you get what you pay for.  Although, that certainly is speaking no evil, for taxpayers it is always patently untrue.  However, the FBI is currently checking Allentown, because it's apparently true for some vendors.

Bonus train post below.

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Dave said...

This camera contract is a good PR stunt, but actually relatively useless when it comes to law enforcement. A much more effective use of the funds would to be put contract security on the streets where the cameras are to be placed. A physical presence of security is a far more effective method of crime reduction, than having images of crimes taking place.

George Ruth said...

I have no strong opinions about the cameras, but would suggest we look at any results in New York City for a sense of their usefulness.
Why not use both the cameras an more police officers on the street? Public safety is the first responsibility of government, not the myriad of departments we see.