Coppers Watch You On ACHD Cameras

In a program with which we can’t really argue, Ada County Highway District is making its extensive network of traffic cams available to coppers at the dispatch center.

ACHD Video Traffic Cam Control Center

ACHD Commish Sara Baker revealed the arrangement on her blog yesterday and noted several recent crimes and emergencies which involved police use of the system.

You too can view intersections, but unlike the coppers at dispatch, you can’t manipulate the camera view. An Ada County Sheriff’s spokesman told the GUARDIAN the department has had control of the traffic cameras “after hours” since mid-February.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Porcupine Picayune
    May 21, 2010, 9:52 am

    Such a segway you have provided Mr. Frazier…

    Following the lead of, The Porcupine Picayune will be offering at least a $250 Cash Prize for a winning video of Boise Police Officers performing their duties.

    It goes without saying that engaging – not monitoring – harassing and yelling / swearing at police will be frowned upon.

    Be creative, call the police department about a local issue, follow a cop for a day, film cops in court or simply film a traffic stop of someone you don’t know.”

    Additionally, the Boise Contest will be open to everyone, including Boise Police Officers

    Technical details and the Nitty-Gritty of the Picayune’s Boise Police Video Contest will be announced in the coming days.

  2. It seems to me that if we are going to have surveillance cams, then we ought to have an open discussion about them first… rather than go through the back door and announce months later. All in all, I am not wild about the idea. They are billed as traffic cams.. let’s limit them to that.

  3. Erico49, this was a business decision made in a public meeting. Since no ACHD business is ever reported in the Idaho Statesman, you would have been unaware of this unless you followed our meetings on line, which is easy enough to do, but probably boring for the most part.

    There was a discussion.

  4. Hi, Sara,
    It seems to me that some positive steps should have been taken by both ACHD and the Sheriff to ensure that people were aware of the proposal and had a chance to weigh in. Perhaps ACHD’s crack public relations staff should have been involved.. and Deardon, the ACS flack. I think this is more than a routine business decision, and it should have been publicized more.

  5. Erico – perhaps you’re right about our crack PR staff, actually no perhaps about it. However, it is very disheartening that the press in this town have completely abdicated their responsibilities of being the “fourth estate”. And it’s not only regarding ACHD matters. They rarely tell us anything about what any government council or commission or department is doing. If you want to come to an ACHD Commission meeting and weigh in on this camera issue, well please do!

  6. And a UAV too

  7. Sara,

    Since you are here I’ll respond to your comments about the press. It is true that government meeting coverage has shrunk just as newsrooms have shrunk because of the economy, online postings, news space constraints, deadlines and the number of stories vying for public attention.


    If you e-mail press releases, send them directly to the reporter on that beat. If you send them to the newsroom, they might get lost in the thousands of releases received daily.

    Make the subject line specific so that it begs for attention.

    Make agendas more meaningful so that reporters can spot a good news story or feature worthy of coverage.

    Send news releases to alternate press, such as the BG. Often as not, stories posted here make their way to mainstream media–shameless thievery!

    Be aware that reporters can’t stay for two or three hour-long meetings and hearings. They have multiple duties in the newsroom that must be completed on deadline.

    Also be aware that breaking news takes precedence and consumes news space.

    The Fourth Estate is alive and well, just changed with the times. Walk a mile in our shoes.

  8. Porcupine Picayune
    May 22, 2010, 7:52 am

    Dearest Kappa TA,

    Alive and well? Perhaps somewhere; but not ’round these parts!

    The Fourth Estate’s slow transmogrification into infotainment began long before the internet.

    And while I respect and enjoy the works of particular Journalists and Reporters, the industry as a whole is a perverted shell of its former self and might still be relevant had it not become so gutless.

    Exposés about a Senator’s toilet habits notwithstanding.

    Jib Jab summarized it nicely @

    You want bare knuckled, “old time” reporting in Boise, Idaho? You’ll only find it within the pages of the Boise Guardian and select other blogs.

  9. I doubt much goes on “after hours” on the ACHD cams given teir locations to monitor traffic. Pitty the poor person with the job of sitting there for a shift of work.

    Big Brother is coming to town we will get used to it.

  10. If the television stations can get a live feed from the ACHD cameras as well as the local police; why can these not be made available to the general public to view, too?

    The still camera views tell us something in the past. It would be more interesting to watch the accidents at Eagle Road and Chinden in real time. Perhaps some of our local attorneys could hire people to assist them in chasing the ambulances from their desk. Economic opportunity with no incremental cost to the ACHD.

  11. Interesting to note that KBOI-TV and KTVB have had full access to these video feeds for at least five years…

    Peak Broadcasting also has them.

  12. I guess I am out of touch. We seem to have established a video surveillance network for law enforcement with little or no public comment… and nobody seems to care.

  13. They monitor major intersections of the city, mostly for traffic congestion issues and accidents. They are not used to spy on you while you are smoking a joint in your car. The only time police have access is if they ask a dispatcher to look at a certtain location for a specific reason, and yes this may be to see if a certain car is at that intersection, usually beacause that car is a suspect vehicle in a criminal act.

  14. Pocupine:

    You Tube and Jib Jab aside, you’ll also find good reporting here:

    This is the Society of Professional Journalists of which I am a member, along with the Idaho Press Club.


  15. Porcupine Picayune
    May 23, 2010, 4:29 pm


    You must be one of the “…particular Journalists and Reporters…” whose writings I enjoy.

  16. Its always interesting to hear the outcry against any new tool or technology used in law enforcement. I think there are too many cop shows out there portraying the myth that police can make a few keystrokes and have access to everything from your dental records to your I-tunes account. The reality is something quite different. Most police and government agencies are sadly behind the times, many relying on technology from the last century. So, when government tries to catch up with what is already out there, people start calling it “Big Brother.” While there may be a time that Big Brother becomes that intrusive, (thanks mainly to the libs) the time is not now. As pointed out earlier the only people who’s privacy might be “violated” at this point are those who would prefer to scurry around in the dark away from the eyes of the law. I’m sure there were those types in the 19th century who protested the adoption of gas-fueled streetlamps too!

  17. diane sower
    Jun 11, 2010, 9:55 am

    If we’re gonna crap on our teachers and school children, and keep the archaic Nickelby around which counts the tests of low I.Q. students, then I say cut the cam business as well. B.S. to pay someone to watch cameras off hours. Waste of my tax dollars, just like re-vamping the capital building was.

  18. Here is the agreement

    Section 3 article D vii of the agreement states “The system or equipment shal not be used for any investigative purpose or surveillance of any kind whatsoever.”

    in Sara’s Blog she states
    “There was a foot pursuit near St Luke’s Hospital. Since we don’t have helicopters in the Boise area, dispatchers followed the pursuee by camera and was able to help the police make the arrest.”

    This is in direct violation of the formentioned agreement and is grounds for termination of this agreement under section 11 a,

    The initial term of the agreement will be until September 30, 2010, with
    the option to renew annually. Perhaps it should be reviewed ya think?

  19. Just a reminder, Give an inch they’ll take a mile

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