NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Police Department now has the authority to use facial recognition to fight crime.
After much debate, Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed the surveillance technology ordinance Thursday after the New Orleans City Council passed the legislation last week.
“It is really a privilege to be with the support beside me in signing this ordinance,” said Mayor Cantrell.
This move comes after a previous ban prohibited New Orleans police from using surveillance technology, like facial recognition software.
“Recognition technology was something that we had as a tool previously that was taken off of the table but restored due to leadership,” said Cantrell.
The technology also includes cell site simulation, which some law enforcement advocates believe will also assist in locating missing people.
City officials say only designated officers within the department will be allowed to request the data.
City Councilman Eugene Green, who was among the council members who pushed for the use of surveillance technology, says NOPD will be able to use the technology to investigate some crimes and that they don’t generate the technology.
“This gives the police the ability to request the technology from other entities, such as the state, such as the city, agencies that might have the technology,” explained Green.
The use of surveillance technology has faced its fair share of criticism; however, Green says he is confident in the ordinance because the technology has been reviewed by the Department of Justice. He also said it can’t be used for probable cause.
“I trust the police department. I feel very confident that they don’t have time to engage in profiling,” said Green. “There’s a lot to be done out there. At the end of the day, we want our police to have every tool that’s available to them to do a better job… to do a great job.”
According to a spokesman for the police department, the next step is implementing a training curriculum. He expects they will have the surveillance technology in use later this year.