By Christin Ayers

PIEDMONT (KPIX 5) — Residents in Piedmont could see a host of new surveillance cameras in town if a proposal by the police chief passes the city council.

Police chief Jeremy Bowers laid out a plan to expand a surveillance camera pilot program before a small group of Piedmont residents. Bowers said the pilot program began in 2017 with cameras at the intersection of Grand and Oakland Avenues.

“It has been successful,” he said. “We’ve seen clear cases where the utilization of the public safety camera footage has aided our investigators in identifying folks involved in crimes.”

The expanded plan would involve placing additional cameras at five other intersections: Grand Wildwood Avenues, Grand and Rose Avenues, Sunnyside and Olive Avenues, Trestle Glen Road and Cavanaugh Court, and Kingston and Monte Cresta Avenues.

Bowers said the cameras would cost about $50,000 per intersection to install.

Rick Schiller, who attended the meeting, said he supports the plan.

“We’ve got a very good police department so I think if they feel it can enhance it and the dollars are there, probably I’d say go for it,” he said.

Some residents expressed concerns about privacy with the new cameras, but Bowers said they would be placed in public areas where there was no expectation of privacy. He also said only police would have access to the cameras and the video would be used strictly in criminal investigations.

Piedmont resident Sunny Bostrom-Fleming said any privacy concerns she had in the past are irrelevant, considering the prevalence of surveillance cameras.

“Now they’re everywhere. We’ve already gone over that bridge,” she said.

The chief said there would be more public meetings to inform the community about the proposal before it goes before the council this summer. He said the cameras could be installed as soon as the end of the summer.

Christin Ayers

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