The Pleasanton City Council is set to consider giving direction Tuesday night on whether to allow the Pleasanton Police Department to use situational awareness cameras at locations across the city for investigations and crime response.
The mounted cameras, which would be recording, would be located on poles near roadways and intersections in high-traffic areas of the community and would help officers effectively solve and prevent crime, according to the city staff report.
"The need for additional tools for law enforcement is becoming increasingly significant," the staff report states. "The region, including the community, has experienced an increase in certain crimes such as motor vehicle theft, residential burglaries, organized retail theft and catalytic converter thefts in recent years."
Because of this uptick in certain crimes, as well as an analysis of crime statistics in the city and in the Tri-Valley, staff are pointing to additional resources such as camera technology to enhance the PPD's response to these crimes, which due to their nature could prove to be difficult when officers try to apprehend or locate culprits.
"In recent years, recorded situational awareness cameras have emerged as a valuable tool for policing, contributing to crime reduction, crime-solving and community safety," according to the staff report. "Although many technologies are already in use in Pleasanton, the city has not adopted a policy allowing the use of recorded situational awareness cameras."
Among many benefits the cameras would provide, the staff report points to two in particular: being able to virtually put officers at the scene of the crime within seconds and gaining more leads during an investigation thanks to the recordings catching what happened at the scene of the crime during the actual incident.
Apart from the benefits of these cameras, staff will also be going over successful examples of other agencies deploying the cameras as well as any associated privacy concerns regarding the cameras and residents.
If the City Council supports the move to use the cameras, then staff will move forward with the project.
However, the decision to use these cameras will also depend on whether the city receives the "Organized Retail Theft Grant" that the city applied for back in June. The grant, which comes from the California Board of State and Community Corrections, would help fund various technologies for use by police departments -- including the situational awareness cameras.
"Recorded situational use cameras are included in the city's grant application and, if awarded, their cost will be fully reimbursed by the grant," according to the staff report. "The total value of the grant is $3,143,554 over the three-year grant period."
The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 5) and will once again be held at the city's Operations Service Center, located at 3333 Busch Road. The full agenda can be accessed here.
In other business
The council will be receiving a report from staff on the city's emergency preparedness efforts, which was requested by the dais during the Aug. 15 meeting.
According to the staff report, the update will include information and a presentation that will go over the status of the citywide efforts to make sure Pleasanton is prepared for any potential disasters in the future.
"The city is prepared to respond effectively to disasters that threaten the community, which could include earthquakes, landslides, fires, floods, storms, power outages, as well as any other emergency requiring a coordinated, multi-agency response," according to the staff report. "The frequency of natural and man-made disasters has increased in recent years, particularly in California. Best practices suggest that cities should regularly review their emergency preparedness and response functions."
Pleasanton had already recently revised its disaster preparedness policy back in June. The policy provides an overview of city procedures and policies related to disaster response and allows the city manager and department directors to carry out any and all emergency plans adopted by the city.
But one of those plans, which is one that will be brought up during Tuesday's meeting, includes the city's Emergency Operations Plan, which was last updated in 2018. According to the staff report, the city is looking to update that plan by next year.
Staff will also be going over the city's Disaster Preparedness Working Group (DPWG), which is made up of staff from each city department. The team regularly meets in order to "drive initiatives and programs that continuously improve the city's disaster preparedness."
"DPWG staff has developed a citywide training and communication plan with disaster preparedness exercises and inward- and outward-facing communications to help city staff and the community stay informed and ready throughout the year," the staff report states.
The report also states that staff are also looking at a longer-term strategy to identify funding and planning for a new Emergency Operations Center that would include new equipment, space, electronics and more.
Those will all be proposed for consideration as part of the Citywide Strategic Plan that will be considered for adoption by the City Council in October.