The resolution authorizing borough manager Mark Earnest to purchase the three cameras for $18,075 assures “the borough has not gone camera crazy” in its summary statement.
Earnest said the comment was probably added due to an email that circulated among residents when the borough accepted the grant back in the spring of 2012. The email contained a 2006 story about Dillingham, Alaska – population 2,400 – which installed 80 cameras around its town and port after receiving a similar Department of Homeland Security grant.
“That email got sent around to people here around town, (with the implication) that that’s what we were doing almost. And it wasn’t anything like that. It was just a couple of cameras,” Earnest said.
“There are those that believe that cameras are just an intrusion on privacy. But in public places, as a society, we have come to recognize that that’s a part of today’s reality,” he added.
The grant requires the borough install one camera at each dock. Public facilities director Carlos Jimenez said the third camera will be installed at one of the two docks at a later date.
The cameras will not be under constant human surveillance, but will be recording and also can be viewed in real-time, Jimenez said. Who will be able to view the video is still up for discussion, Jimenez said. Harbor employees will have access, but officials with Delta Western and Alaska Marine Lines may as well, he said.