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City staffer Joe DeVries emailed “The FLIR Policy that was developed by the Advisory Committee will be going before the Public Safety Committee next Tuesday September 15th at 6pm in Hearing Room 1. It is item #5 on the agenda. A link to the documents is below as well.” FLIR Agenda Report Policy and Resolution (pdf)

To catch you up:

  • The FLIR is a system that lets OPD helicopter pilots see infrared images of the ground, buildings, and warm things there. Like lost children, escaped prisoners, homeowners smoking on their front lawns, and hotspots during a firestorm.
  • OPD is updating their tech from ancient to not-obsolete.
  • The same citizen committee that proposed a privacy policy for surveillance cameras drafted suggestions for a privacy policy for the new FLIR system.
  • If you have concerns or comments, next Tuesday, 15 September, is your one real shot to support the proposed policy governing the FLIR’s use or to suggest changes.
  • If/when the Council’s Public Safety Committee approves (perhaps after some changes?), it will go to the whole council where they will approve it (or make more changes).

My two cents: This is a good policy, a simple framework. It incorporates current laws protecting unwarranted surveillance of homes. It adds procedures for oversight. Support it.