Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Signs Executive Order on Surveillance Transparency and Accountability

Executive Order 78 establishes transparency and accountability measures for surveillance technology utilized by the SLMPD.

February 23, 2024 | 2 min reading time

Today, joined by Chief Robert Tracy, Public Safety Director Charles Coyle, and community supporters, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed an Executive Order on surveillance technology transparency and accountability; announced the SLMPD’s release of key technology use policies; and called upon local lawmakers to take urgent action to pass automated traffic enforcement legislation to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries caused by reckless drivers in St. Louis.

“Public Safety includes every part of our city, especially our streets,” said Mayor Tishaura Jones. “We have to do more now as a city to eliminate the culture of traffic violence that has taken too many lives and injured too many more. I hope that my actions today, along with the actions of Chief Tracy and his team, have made the decision much easier for the Board of Alderman to pass Board Bill 105, the Automated Camera Enforcement Act, which will help to protect the lives of our residents and visitors.”

Executive Order 78 establishes transparency and accountability measures for surveillance technology utilized by the City of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD). The order:

  • Specifies how the SLMPD can and cannot use artificial intelligence and surveillance technologies;
  • Requires the SLMPD to provide an annual report to the Board of Aldermen with extensive detail on use of surveillance technologies in use;
  • Provides for increased transparency on how much money is being spent on these technologies;
  • Prohibits vendors from providing access to or selling surveillance information or data to unauthorized individuals or selling it for anything of value;
  • Specifies that SLMPD will only provide access to surveillance information or data to authorized individuals, and will create policies for the use and sharing of this information and data;
  • Outlines requirements for the retention and storage of information and data collected through surveillance technology; and
  • Requires that Missouri Sunshine laws be upheld when it comes to the disclosure or release of surveillance technology information and data.

Highlights of BB 105, originally filed in September 2023, include:

  • The direction of all revenue gained from fines to infrastructure, driver education, and program administration
  • Consistent evaluation and data analysis to ensure communities of color do not face a disproportionate amount of fines and fees
  • The assurance of due process to fit the criteria outlined by the Missouri Supreme Court while protecting privacy rights

SLMPD issued more than 32,000 tickets for traffic violations in 2023, and studies show that automated traffic enforcement improves street safety when deployed effectively.

Approximately 330 communities across 22 states have used automated traffic enforcement systems (both red light and speed cameras) to discourage dangerous driving.

Northwestern University’s 2017 study of Chicago’s automated traffic enforcement system found “significant safety benefits” as well as a “spillover effect” that discouraged red light running outside of targeted corridors. A 2017 study of New York City’s system showed that only 19 percent of offenders received more than one violation.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association estimates 20 people across the country are killed by a moving vehicle every day, and pedestrian deaths are at a 40-year high. In 2023 in the city of St. Louis, there were 228 crashes, 225 injuries, and 8 fatalities involving pedestrians on our streets.

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