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Jan 12

The revolution will be televised

San Luis Obispo Police Department Capt. Don Englert prepares video tape and TV for viewing.  Telegram-Tribune July 16, 1973

San Luis Obispo Police Department Capt. Don Englert prepares video tape and TV for viewing. Telegram-Tribune July 16, 1973

July 16, 1973
With apologies to poet Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will be televised, and chances are the police will be running the cameras. At least that was the gist of the story published in the then Telegram-Tribune. The Sony reel to reel recording equipment looks archaic but make no mistake, society was taking the first baby steps into the YouTube era we inhabit today, now 90% privacy free. Today there are whole television shows based on material recorded with patrol car mounted cameras, filming chases and arrests.
In addition the police have had cameras turned on them in less than flattering ways when arrests spin out of control. Cameras are everywhere from cell phones and music players to the surveillance cameras in stores and banks.
The unbylined story and photos ran on page 9 the front of the second section.
I like the fact the story explained what the acronym TGIF stands for, OMG!

‘Smile!’
SLO candid film makers will have police badges

The San Luis Obispo Police Department is going into the movie business.
In September the police filmmakers should be on the streets ready to record homicides, unruly parties and picket lines with a $2,000 Sony video tape unit.
The unit will be purchased through a mini-grant from the California Council on Criminal Justice (CCCJ), said Capt. Don Englert.
The project got off to a shaky start in late May when a police request for $2,000 was blue penciled from the budget by City Administrative Officer Richard Miller. The council concurred in that decision.
1973-7-16-police-vidBut a few weeks ago, the council voted to approve the movie making. Members authorized spending $500 toward the purchase of the camera and recording device.
Englert said the purchase still must be approved by the state but added that he expected no problems.
Engelrt said the purchase still must be approved by the state but added that he expected no problems.
The video rover unit will be used in conjunction with a playback unit and monitor device the department already owns. These were purchased through a joint CCCJ grant with Santa Barbara County. The playback unit records training films off a television screen for use at a later date.
Englert said several other police departments in the county have similar devices.
The camera unit will be used for several police activities, according to Englert.
Most importantly, for Englert, will be its deployment at the scene of a homicide or other crime and in depicting proper police techniques.
Englert said the department already takes still photographs and the tape filming is only a more sophisticated version of these.
A second, and for Englert, a minor use of the camera will be for “surveillance.”
For instance, police might film the sounds and sights of a TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) party. This might be used to show the City Council either the need or lack of need for an ordinance regulating such gatherings, said Englert.
A unit previously borrowed from the Sheriff’s department was used to film trucks double parking downtown. These films were shown at a City Council meeting.
Other aspects of surveillance might be narcotics or prostitution stakeouts, said Englert.
The captain said that any demonstration or peaceful picket line which might become an illegal disturbance would probably be filmed by the police.
Englert said the camera will be effective in determining how the demonstration developed into a disturbance, especially if court action might be involved.
“It’s a bugging device,” he said.
But he insisted that it would not be used for “intelligence gathering” and films of innocent citizens would be destroyed.

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