Fight against terrorism coming to Missouri River - KCTV5

Fight against terrorism coming to Missouri River

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A Homeland Security grant will give Kansas City police a tool to fight terrorism along the port in the city.

They are going to install cameras along the Missouri River to keep a close eye on five counties.  Authorities will use the cameras as additional eyes on the area.

They say the closed circuit television cameras can help police and emergency responders act quickly if there is a natural disaster, criminal activity or terror attack.

Right now, police have access to about 300 cameras strategically placed around the city. Most of these cameras are monitoring traffic.

Soon, new cameras will monitor a much different form of transportation.

"We are going to use that for a closed circuit television camera system that will be placed at strategic locations along the Missouri river for the protection of highly populated areas and critical infrastructure," Capt. Daniel Gates said.

The city received a Port Authority security grant for more than $283,000 to purchase the camera system.

"We hope that it is a twofold: Not only does it allow us to gather evidence after a critical incident like Boston occurs," Gates said.

Gates said the cameras could also possibly prevent an attack because they could help officers identify any weaknesses in the security system.

"There are ways to access the river to where you could plan a criminal enterprise. You could plan a terrorist event, so the cameras can be used to observe those," Gates said.

The cameras will be used to monitor large events near the river. It could also be used to observe flooding along the river.

"Do we need to move people back? Do we need to set up a larger perimeter? Evacuate? The cameras can be used for all of those things," Gates said.

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union have spoken out against close circuit television cameras being used by police.

They say studies show the video surveillance doesn't significantly affect crime rates. The ACLU says the camera systems are susceptible to abuse.

Police officers say these particular cameras will only be used to monitor public areas.

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