Q13 Fox recently conducted an investigation into security surveillance cameras that reportedly failed during two related shootings that occurred on buses in the King County Metro system on Monday.
Reporters apparently had requested to see video from the surveillance cameras that would have shown the events leading up to the shootings, but King County Metro said that they could not produce the video because the cameras had malfunctioned.
Q13 anchor Dana Rebik called upon Davis Law Group founder and attorney Chris Davis to share his legal expertise about the issue, and also to explain how important it can be for surveillance cameras to be operational in order to help victims of assault or other crimes achieve justice.
Full transcription of the video:
They are supposed to be a crime deterrence. Security cameras on King County Metro buses, but what use are they if they don’t work? Following two shootings on Monday on busses, reporters asked to see the bus-cam video. Turns out both of those cameras malfunctioned. Let’s go live to Dana Rebik in downtown Seattle.
Matt: Dana, what is Metro telling us at this point?
Dana: Well at this point Matt, they say due to some sort of technical error they could not retrieve those videos for us; they say they sent the hard drives to the vendor and they could also not access this video. So now many people are wondering how many other bus cameras might not be working. Steven rides a metro bus every day. He says he feels pretty safe, especially when the bus ha a surveillance camera.
Steven: It gives you a sense of security that if something happens to you there is going to be someone held accountable eventually.
Dana: On Monday, a violence passenger shot one driver then fled onto a different bus where he was shot and killed by police. Both busses had cameras but neither one was working. So now the question is, are any of them actually rolling?
Interviewee: Otherwise why have them? They are for the safety of others for what occurs on the bus so it is just not he said, she said.
Dana: Attorney Chris Davis has handled King County Metro cases before and says that bus-cam video is critical evidence.
Chris: There is inconsistencies among the witnesses so it can be difficult to determine what actually happened. When you have a video, there is no question of what happened. It can literally make or break a case.
Dana: The Bothell company that sold Metro the cameras recommends that the software be updated every three years. Today they told me it has been six years and those updates have never been done.
Steven: You need to maintain your equipment otherwise you are just throwing money away.
Chris: That is a great question and certainly the county should be answering because obviously they are spending a lot of money to install these cameras and maintain these cameras. They definitely should be working and should be receiving regular maintenance.
Dana: King County Metro would not go on camera with us today to talk about this issue. Here is what they told me though in an e-mailed statement: “That they are conducting a review and they are going to conduct a review on all 550 cameras on busses because of what happened here.
They would not comment on the question of the timeline of the software upgrade but did say they are planning to meet with this vendor and step of the maintenance plan if that is needed. But they did tell us that they believe there are several other that can cause problem with video. They say some of those could be things like friction heat and vibration on busses. That is all we have for you now and we will throw it back to you. We are reporting live from downtown Seattle.