During the month of March our office organized multiple community conversations on the use of drones and surveillance technology. The conversations were held in different neighborhood quadrants of the city and would not have been possible without the direct collaboration and sponsorship of various community partners. Among them, the Greater Hartford Chapter of the NAACP, Faith Congregational Church, Hartford 2000 Inc., YWCA of Hartford Region, the American Civil Liberties Union and Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT). The conversations made space for the community to express direct thoughts, suggestions and concerns about policy surrounding surveillance technology for City of Hartford departments such as the Hartford Police and Fire.
Given that Hartford is 18 sq. miles long, with 900 street cameras currently accessible to HPD for surveillance, as well as software ranging from shot-spotter, license plate readers, predictive policing technology such as "Crimespace", along with the new use of body cameras, and with the purchase of drones, we intentionally wanted to hear directly from constituents on what their thoughts and questions were regarding drones use and surveillance technology as a whole.
We also want to thank all of the individuals who made the community conversations possible, among them: Councilwoman Claudine Fox, Attorney Josh Michtom, Melvin Medina of the ACLU, Pastor Stephen Camp, NAACP Greater Hartford President Maxien Lewin-Robinson, Melinda Johnson of the YWCA, Marion Griffin Co-Chair of Hartford 2000 Inc., Segun Idowu of BPCAT), Re-Center & Professors Bilal Sekou, Abigail Williamson & William Dunlap.
The community conversations on drones and surveillance technology culminated with a panel discussion followed by community conversations held at the Hartford Public Library the last week of March. It was well attended with over 100 attendees. Special thanks to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for making the final event possible! Next steps, taking transcribed comments and ideas to draft an Ordinance that reflects the communities input. More updates to be announced soon...