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Atlanta pulls plug on trial camera program after complaints

9:57 PM, Apr 15, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The City of Atlanta has suspended all use of a trial, in-car camera program that was being considered by the city council -- after 11Alive News discovered it has been in use for weeks.

City officials contacted a company called Drivecam to participate in a free, 120 day trial. City officials installed cameras in 175 vehicles in the fire deparment, the planning department, the watershed department and public works.

According to Drivecam, anytime the driver swerves suddenly or brakes aggressively the camera starts recording including 8 seconds prior to the move and four second afterwawrd.

Atlanta City Chief Financial Officer Jim Beard said it would primarily be used as a safety tool.

"By looking at drive data of people using city vehicles maybe we can curtail certain behaviors that would cause accidents," said Beard.

Beard added that no data would be collected until the city council approved the Drivecam trial program, but 11Alive news found several city workers who said they had already been reprimanded for their behavior on the cameras.

Several union representatives reiterated that to council members Monday, so the matter is being sent to committee for further study.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spokesperson Gwen Gillespie said she shared her own concerns with city officials when they started installing the cameras.

We know as an employer, the city can install whatever safety equipment it wants to in company vehicles. But we do not believe the cameras ever stop. There is no telling what they're capturing, when they're capturing it or why," said Gillespie.

Late Monday, city officials said all use of the Drivecam system will be shutdown until further notice.

It is not clear what will be done for the city workers who have already received letter of reprimand for incidents captured by the cameras.

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