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Council postpones camera vote

Police bureau has not completed research on privacy issue

The City Council postponed its planned consideration of the Portland Police Bureau plan to install surveillance cameras in the Old Town area Wednesday.

Mayor Sam Adams pulled the item from the council agenda after the bureau was unable to complete its research to respond to a request from Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

At last week's council meeting, Saltzman asked for assurances that police officers monitoring the camera would not violate the private rights of law abiding citizens. At the time, Police Chief Mike Reese said existing bureau policies might cover that, but he promised to review them and report back to the council.

The bureau wants the city to indemnify building owners against damages arising from lawsuits or legal actions.

The bureau believes such cameras will help reduce and solve crimes in a part of town historically plagued with drug problems. Civil liberty groups counter there is not proof cameras reduce or solve crimes.