CMPD plans to re-deploy DNC surveillance cameras and technology

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - 131 wireless cameras for $1.7m, 95 license plate readers for $1.5m, a $4.5m new command center, and a $1.5m video management center. Those are some of the electronic public safety monitoring that CMPD bought and put in place for the Democratic National Convention back in September in Uptown.

Police officials say they've had electronic monitoring technology for decades. A federal grant for DNC security allowed them to upgrade.

During a briefing to Charlotte City Council members, CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe and other police officials stressed that the technology was put in place to monitor criminal activity, not be big brother.

Now the department wants to re-deploy the cameras and technology to other areas outside of Center City.

Chief Monroe says "it helps create a safer environment" that is "focusing on criminal activity".

The Police Department's attorney says they're aware of the public's concerns about a reasonable expectation of privacy. The department says the cameras are mounted on public intersections and are only monitoring what's brought into public view.

Police officials say there are about 650 cameras across Mecklenburg County.

The Chief told council members that CMPD also has access to 60 cameras from the private sector - such as Bank of America, the Convention Center, and Time Warner Cable Arena - among others.

The department says it wants to partner with malls, colleges, motels and Charlotte Area Transit System and expand the areas being monitored for criminal activity.

They're also asking other small businesses to enhance their surveillance cameras in the event police need to track criminals.

In preparation for the DNC, CMPD installed the gunshot detection spotter. Police officials say they plan to expand the range of the spotter.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.