DECATUR — The city has reversed its denial of a Freedom of Information Act submission seeking the location of license plate-reading cameras.
The city declined the request by the Herald & Review to provide the locations because "disclosure would result in demonstrable harm to the agency or public body ..."
The license plate recognition cameras are part of a crime-fighting initiative to drive down violence in the Johns Hill neighborhood and other areas. The technology can read license plates on vehicles going up to 100 mph from 75 feet away.
The city and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett are paying $165,000 for the devices for the first year. The city will pay $150,000 annually after that.
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A Herald & Review Freedom of Information Act request for the location of the Decatur cameras has been denied.
Various civil liberties groups have raised concerns about similar technology being too invasive. Decatur police have said the cameras will be used carefully and won't invade privacy of residents.
Last week, the Herald & Review reported on Springfield city officials considering purchasing license plate-reading cameras from the same vendor used by Decatur, Atlanta-based Flock Safety.
The story also mentioned that the Decatur FOIA had been denied.
On Friday, City Clerk Kim Althoff emailed that "after further review of your FOIA request, the locations of the LPR cameras are not exempt from disclosure."
It's unclear what prompted the change. The Herald & Review has filed a separate FOIA request seeking internal city emails about what preceded the reversal.
A copy of the list released by police is reprinted below. It includes 54 cameras. One location is listed as "North Woodford Street" but without an intersection.
The following list was released by the police:
#01 - E Wood St & S Martin Luther King Jr Dr
#02 - S Maffit St & E Wood St
#03 - E Wood St & S Jasper St
#04 - S Jasper St & E Wood St
#05 - S Calhoun St & E Wood St
#06 - E Clay St & S Maffit St
#07 - S Maffit St & E Johns Ave
#08 - E Whitmer St & S Jasper St
#09 - S Jasper St & E Cantrell St
#10 - E Cantrell St & S Jasper St
#11 - E Cantrell St & S MLK Jr Dr
#12 - S MLK Jr Dr & E Cantrell St
#13 - E Decatur St & S MLK Jr Dr
#14 - S Webster St & E Lawrence St
#15 - E Lawrence St & S MLK Jr Dr
#16 - E Whitmer St & S Maffit St
#17 - S Maffit St & E Cantrell St
#18 - S Illinois St & E Whitmer St
#19 - E Moore St & S Jasper St
#20 - N Lowber St & E Garfield Ave
#21 - N Woodford St
#22 - N Woodford St & E Garfield Ave
#23 - E Garfield Ave & N Illinois St
#24 - E Garfield Ave & N Illinois St
#25 - N Illinois St & E Garfield Ave
#26 - N Jasper St & E Garfield Ave
#27 - N Lowber St & E Garfield Ave
#28 - N Woodford St & E Garfield Ave
#29 - E Garfield Ave & N 21st St
#30 - E Garfield Ave & N Woodford St
#31 - E Locust St & Brandt Ct
#32 - E Grand Ave & N Dinneen St
#33 - N Dinneen St & E Locust St
#34 - E Locust St & N Dinneen St
#35 - N Woodford St & E Grand Ave
#36 - N Charles St & E Grand Ave
#37 - N Lowber St & E Grand Ave
#38 - N Jasper St & E Grand Ave
#39 - N Illinois St & E Grand Ave
#40 - N Calhoun St & E Grand Ave
#41 - E Grand Ave & N Calhoun St
#42 - E Grand Ave & N Clinton St
#43 - N MLK Jr Dr & E Grand Ave
#44 - N MLK Jr Dr & E Main St
#45 - S Stone St & E Wood St
#46- 16th St & E Clay St
#47 - S Stone St & E Cantrell St
#48 - S 16th St & E Cantrell St
#49 - E Cantrell St & S 21st St
#50 - E Cantrell St & S Jasper St
#51 - E Wood St & S 22nd St
#52 - S Jasper St & E Johns Ave
#53 - E Olive St & N 21st St
#54 - S Jasper St & E Wood St