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Police agencies partnering with doorbell camera companies

KIFI

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    SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) — Dozens of police agencies across the state have signed agreements letting them access footage from certain video doorbells.

But privacy advocates have voiced concerns over tapping into home surveillance in search of criminal activity.

“We had a series of home invasions in the middle of 2019 and the suspect that was involved in the home invasions was captured on a doorbell camera. And through Ring, we were able to identify that person and make an arrest and a conviction,” Saginaw Township Police Lt. Scott Malace said.

The agency has used the technology to help fight crime since 2019. Malace was quick to point out homeowners have to give their permission before the police department can obtain the video.

Some groups have raised privacy concerns over the use of the Ring doorbell cameras and Ring neighborhood app. Malace said any innocent bystander can rest easy.

“Any information that would be gained from that video, if it doesn’t pertain to the case, we wouldn’t utilize it. And if it was called into court, we would redact that information so that it protects the privacy of those that may or may not be involved,” Malace said.

Malace also said his department doesn’t use Ring cameras for neighborhood surveillance. He also said law enforcement doesn’t have access to Ring cameras without the owner’s permission. He wants to remind people being out in public isn’t as private as some might think.

“Being out in the public, the expectation of privacy is different than being in somebody’s home. And most people are under the misconception that they have privacy out in the public, but they don’t,” Malace said.

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