Surveillance Sets UMass, Police At Odds

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, February 24, 2012

A Hampshire Superior Court judge has ordered that the University of Massachusetts cease all unnecessary audio recording in its police station immediately.

Not a problem, according to an attorney for UMass, who said no unwarranted recording has occurred.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup ordered the hold Wednesday afternoon at a hearing to determine the course of action to settle a dispute between UMass police and the university over the surveillance system at the police station. Police claim that the security cameras in place throughout the station building can record confidential and private conversations with family or confidential informants outside of interviews or booking procedures, which are always recorded.

According to attorney Thomas A. Kenefick, representing the UMass police, about 32 security cameras are in the station building, which opened in April 2011. In late January, a dispatcher discovered that the cameras have built-in audio capabilities that allow them to record and transmit audio.

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