I have to strongly disagree with Wednesday Journal on the timing of the one-year trial period of the eight Flock Safety Inc. license-plate-reading-camera compromise the village just passed [Wrong timing on Flock, Our Views, Viewpoints, April 6]. Now is the perfect time for such a program to go into effect.
First, let’s look at the position of the opposition. The “scalding” opposition of the CRC (Community Relations Commission) is mostly conjecture and not based on facts. They said, “The surveillance technology could encourage racially-based policing.” “These cameras could potentially create inequitable treatment of Black and Brown folks.” CRC says a 2021 Bloomberg study said such cameras could be between 1% to 10% misreads, depending on the system used, but CRC did not identify the misread percentage for Flock. Finally, the CRC says the cameras do not seem capable of accomplishing the stated goal of preventing crime.
I have to particularly take issue with this last criticism because it is not true. The stated goal of the Flock system is to identify the license plate of a vehicle that has been involved in a crime. It is a system to help police solve crimes, not prevent them. There are no facts presented by the CRC to be used to oppose the Flock system. The CRC letter only raises hypothetical community concerns; it does not offer a factual basis for a yes or no vote.
Likewise, waiting for the results of the BerryDunn policing report is also irrelevant because nothing in the BerryDunn report will discuss the efficacy of the use of the Flock technology system in Oak Park.
As Wednesday Journal correctly pointed out, we do not have a permanent police chief and our village manager has only been on the job for two weeks. That is why this is the perfect time to initiate the one-year Flock trial period. Neither one of these decision-makers has a dog in this fight. At the end of the one-year trial period, the entire community can look forward to the fact that our village manager and chief of police will look at the data produced by the use of these eight cameras in the village of Oak Park with a completely open mind.
We can trust they will impartially analyze whether they have been of benefit to the community, whether there are some adjustments that need to be made so they are more effective or whether they are not right for our community.
We can only hope that the CRC will also be willing to take an impartial analysis of the results. The facts will set you free.