WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — West Lafayette’s mayor has vetoed an ordinance passed by the northwest Indiana city’s council that would ban local police from using facial-recognition surveillance technology.
Mayor John Dennis vetoed the ordinance Monday after the West Lafayette City Council approved the measure on a 5-4 vote, the Journal & Courier reported.
Dennis and West Lafayette Chief of Police Troy Harris told the council facial-recognition technology is crucial for police investigations,
“We do not own any facial-recognition technology, and I’m not here to advocate to do so,” Harris said. We do utilize this technology to help us solve crimes and to make our decisions safer.”
Dennis, a former deputy chief with the Lafayette Police Department, said he believes “this is just the beginning of a great deal of conversation when it comes to this type of technology.”
The ordinance was sponsored and presented by council member David Sanders, who said during that he’s concerned “about the distorting effects this technology has.”
“The problem is that technology is distorting government action. The availability of the technology — a technology that we don’t really know how it works — will be distorting what the government does. And that’s the problem,” he said.
West Lafayette is located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.