- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

Two local members of Congress said yesterday that the U.S. Park Police broke a promise to submit regulations for surveillance cameras before using them.
The cameras will be used today to monitor Fourth of July festivities on the Mall.
Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican, said National Park Service officials "have forgotten something they promised back in March" namely, the submission of formal regulations on how they intend to control the use of surveillance cameras.
The officials had promised to deliver those regulations to Mrs. Morella's House subcommittee before any use of them, and she made a second request in May.
The Park Police, which is coordinating security plans among various agencies for the July 4 celebrations on the Mall, will be using the Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance-camera system, as well as its own temporary system, said a Park Police spokesman.
However, by yesterday, the Park Service had not submitted any regulations.
Faced with further demands from Mrs. Morella and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Interior Department, which oversees the Park Police, faxed a policy statement to the House Government Reform subcommittee on the District yesterday morning.
The congresswomen said the policy statement was not good enough, as it would not be legally binding on such matters as who can see the surveillance tapes and how long they will be stored. The two promised hearings on the matter after the July 4 holiday.
"The National Park Service had an obligation to the public to issue standards governing how these cameras would be used before deciding to put them into service," said Mrs. Morella, the subcommittee chairman.
Mrs. Norton, the District's nonvoting Democratic representative, said it was "unacceptable for the Park Police to use a camera surveillance system to watch over citizens peaceably assembling on the National Mall for the Independence Day festivities."
"They have clearly abused the subcommittee," she said. "This statement is just so they can cover themselves."
Mrs. Norton said officials from the Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police and other agencies briefed her Friday on the security measures for the Fourth of July "and never mentioned cameras."
The policy statement, signed by Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers, said the cameras will be located at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
The policy statement says the Park Service will use the cameras consistent with a 1999 counterterrorism plan on how to use cameras effectively and "with these [American Bar Association] standards to ensure adequate privacy safeguards."
The cameras will be used only in open, public spaces and by U.S. Park Police for "legitimate law enforcement objectives," the policy states. Access will be limited to law enforcement officials, and the tapes will be destroyed after 30 days unless needed "for a documented criminal incident."
Mrs. Morella said her subcommittee has accepted the apologies of the Park Service and Park Police for not delivering the regulations, adding that she still expects to see formal legally binding regulations soon.


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