Chief: Officers acted lawfully when disconnecting man’s surveillance cameras
A man said his privacy was violated after officers disconnected his surveillance camera outside his front door
By PoliceOne Staff
VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Florida police chief is defending his officers after a man claimed his privacy was violated when an officer disconnected a surveillance camera outside his front door.
In August 2017, Vero Beach officers received an anonymous tip that the man, who didn’t want to be identified, matched the description of a suspect wanted for felony grand theft, WPTV reports. Chief David Currey said the officers went to the man’s apartment for a felony warrant and were advised there may be firearms at the home.
When officers showed up at the apartment, they knocked to no answer. The tenant said he was at work at the time.
Video, which the tenant later viewed after returning home, captured an officer disconnecting the surveillance camera.
“When I saw that I had no idea what they were up to, what their intentions were,” the tenant said.
It turned out that the tenant was not the man they were looking for. Police later arrested the actual suspect.
But the tenant questioned the officers’ practice.
“If anybody can just make a report and then have the police show up and remove and tamper with things around your house, that’s not right," the tenant said.
Currey said the officers acted legally.
“In law enforcement we don’t want to be at a disadvantage. We try to be at an advantage as best we can. If that was a safety precaution and a tactical precaution to make them safer then I stand behind that,” Currey said.
Currey added that the officers were concerned about possible weapons in the home but didn’t hear about officers disconnecting cameras while they were at the apartment.
The chief said he wished the tenant would’ve come forward with his concerns sooner, saying he learned about the surveillance video recently. He said the department would have offered to pay to repair any damage to the cameras.