||Total Violation of Police Privacy: Cameras Discovered in Police Locker Room
September 23, 2004
This kind of invasive surveillance has been going on for years, even in bathrooms at public schools, but now that the shoe's on the other foot this group of police is hoping mad. Those who associate themselves with the establishment should know to expect the same treatment as is given to others. Of course Big Brother is watching Big Brother. Welcome to the total surveillance police state society,.
Female Police Officer May Sue Folcroft Over Hidden Cameras
Investigator Says Audio Cords Were Attached To Video Equipment
NBC 10/September 22, 2004
POSTED: 8:41 pm EDT September 22, 2004 UPDATED: 9:12 pm EDT September 22, 2004 FOLCROFT, Pa. -- The mother of Folcroft's only female police officer sounded off to the borough Tuesday night over the discovery of a hidden camera in the police station's locker room. On Wednesday, the officer herself told NBC 10 News how angry she is about the violation of her privacy.
"This is police headquarters, and they shouldn't have been in here. They shouldn't have been watching, and they shouldn't have been watching my fellow police officers," said officer Leslie McLean. McLean said she plans to take Folcroft Borough to court over hidden surveillance equipment that captured her undressing down to her undergarments.
"You work so hard to get here, and one thing you don't learn in the police academy -- you learn ethics and you learn everything you're supposed to do -- but you're not taught how to handle something like this," McLean said. Borough officials installed cameras earlier this year after they received reports that officers were sleeping on the job. They installed hidden equipment in a locker area, an evidence room and in the police station's main room where officers interview witnesses. "People pay a lot of taxes, (but) not to have their police officers spied on," McLean said. A private investigator hired by the police chief uncovered the hidden equipment and found audio cords, which would make the equipment illegal in Pennsylvania. The investigator said the cords would allow someone to listen in on the officers' phone calls. The borough manager, Anthony Truscello, denies ever using listening devices. "Absolutely, I don't know what they're talking about. I swear on my mother's grave, I don't know where that coil came from. They may have put it in there themselves, because that would have made it illegal," Truscello said. Truscello said he never saw the surveillance video from the cameras and it was never an invasion of privacy because there were no barriers for the officers to change behind. "In an opening that's about four feet wide, with no door, no screen, no curtain -- how are we deciding that's a dressing room?" Truscello asked. The Delaware District Attorney's office is investigating whether the surveillance was legal or illegal.
DA on Folcroft Camera Case
FOLCROFT, PA-September 23, 2004 — The Delaware County District Attorney's Office is investigating Folcroft Borough Manager Anthony Truscello. CM8ShowAd("CONTENT_MIDDLE")
Truscello installed surveillance cameras to spy on police after receiving complaints that officers were sleeping on duty.
Fraternal Order of Police President Joe Fitzgerald says he has met with prosecutors about the investigation, and the union intends to file a federal lawsuit over the surveillance.
More than 300 people packed Borough Hall on Tuesday night to demand Truscello's resignation and arrest.
Truscello denies any wrongdoing, saying he hired a firm to install the surveillance devices to protect the borough's interests.
Fighting mad in Folcroft: Citizens want answers in police bugging incident
By CINDY SCHARR
Delcotimes.com/Septmeber 22, 2004
FOLCROFT -- In a strong show of support for borough police, more than 300 people crammed into the municipal gym Tuesday night, many demanding the prosecution of borough Manager Anthony Truscello and council President Joseph Zito for their alleged illegal surveillance of police.
"I call on the District Attorney to vigorously prosecute this case," said Kenneth Rocks, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police. "Not only does it violate the law, but it violates the rights of the officers."
At issue is what was discovered during a raid on borough hall by county detectives in May -- video equipment, about a dozen videotapes, a series of cables and other devices -- including a device used to hook up a tape recorder to a telephone line. Police also have copies of bills showing taxpayers footed nearly $10,000 in bills for the spy equipment.
A crowd began gathering well before the 7 p.m. council meeting. Residents wanted to know why their tax dollars were being spent to spy on cops.
"Tell me where my money is going," demanded Julia Ford. "Taxes ain't cheap. Leave my money out of it."
Police officers from across the county were on hand to support their colleagues in Folcroft.
"The D.A.'s office hasn't done anything," said FOP President Joe Fitzgerald. "We want it turned over to the state."
Union members were there en masse: Teamsters Local 312, Steamfitters 420, Local 98 Electricians, Elevator Operators Local. So were members and officers of the borough's Boys and Girls Clubs.
Shortly before 7 p.m., people began filing into the small council chambers. At one point, some were told to leave because of overcrowding. This prompted the crowd outside to demand the meeting be moved to the gym.
At one point, Truscello picked up his cell phone and called the emergency dispatcher to send state police because of the unruly crowd at the meeting. But the state troopers never showed. One of the many officers on hand noted that there were enough police in the building to handle the well-behaved crowd.
The meeting was moved, and council took its seats on the bleachers on stage. Truscello hid behind a curtain next to the stage, prompting one person to loudly dub him the "Wizard of Oz."
During the public comment portion of the meeting, speaker after speaker expressed outrage at the situation. Many demanded the resignation of Truscello, Zito and council. They also wanted to know who on council approved spending $10,000 on spy equipment. Their questions were never answered.
The meeting ended about 8:30. As the large crowd began to disperse, they began to chant, "Truscello must go, Truscello must go."
Lawsuit raises privacy questions
Depositions for a suit challenging an attempted expulsion reveal that a boys' school put a hidden camera in a restroom.
By Martha Woodall
Philadelphia Inquirer/June 25, 2004
Parents and students are accustomed to seeing video cameras in school buses, corridors, computer rooms and outside areas.
Now, it has been revealed that a private boys' school in Northwest Philadelphia put a hidden camera in a rest room.
In depositions for a lawsuit challenging Chestnut Hill Academy's attempt to expel a senior for secretly recording a young woman and her former boyfriend in a bedroom at the senior's home, two administrators have acknowledged that the school briefly placed a hidden camera in a bathroom a few years ago to try to nab smokers.
"Why not post somebody at the door?" wondered Marie A. Fritzinger of Roxborough, whose son Arthur, 18, graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy last year.
Arthur Fritzinger, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, learned about the camera from the depositions taken for the lawsuit - scheduled for trial in mid-August - filed in fall 2002 by his friend and former classmate Andrew Rosenau, 19.
"He was not happy to hear about that," Marie Fritzinger said. "He thinks it was an invasion of privacy."
Lawyers say private academies have more latitude in adopting security and disciplinary measures than public schools. But lawyers, educators and security experts say hidden video cameras are not likely to become standard equipment in school bathrooms any time soon. Schools, they say, have to weigh privacy concerns.
Andrew Mesky, administrator at Security Systems of America in Pittsburgh, said that cameras have become popular items in schools' security budgets ever since a dozen students and a teacher were killed in a shooting rampage in Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
"A lot of the problems that happen in schools very often have a point of origin in boys' bathrooms," said Mesky, whose company provides security systems for schools, businesses and universities. "A difficulty a school might have in providing for the security of the students is the privacy issue. It is a very delicate line."
In fact, a research report on school technologies prepared by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice specifically warns against putting cameras in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other areas where there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy."
Kevin M. McKenna, a Malvern lawyer who represents several public schools in the region, agreed.
"Schools have cameras in hallways, and they have cameras that target specific areas as a way to curtail vandalism and other aberrant behavior," he said. "I don't know of anybody who has ever had one inside a bathroom."
He added: "I think most reasonable people probably agree there is an expectation of privacy when you use a rest room."
But education lawyer Jeffrey T. Sultanik of Lansdale, who has represented private as well as public schools, said private schools have more leeway than public schools to adopt security and discipline measures.
"You don't have a constitutional right to attend an independent school," he said. "You are essentially subject to the rules of the school and its operation."
Sultanik said the exact location of a hidden camera inside a bathroom might be the key question. Privacy concerns would be greatly reduced, Sultanik said, if the camera were trained on the door and not the stalls or the urinals.
Chestnut Hill Academy officials say the camera they placed in a downstairs bathroom was not aimed at the stalls or urinals. It was placed to show the entrance, near the sinks.
John O'Neill, a school spokesman, said that former headmaster Richard L. Parker authorized placing the camera in the bathroom because the school was having problems catching a persistent smoker. Smoking, he said, is a major concern because the school is a former inn, which dates to 1884.
"It's a genuine fire hazard," O'Neill said. "It was a safety issue."
O'Neill said the smoke was drifting from the bathroom into the school's broad entrance hall. The camera was installed after students who were confronted denied smoking.
He said the camera was in place for a few days and was removed as soon as the culprit was caught and disciplined.
"We have never had anything like that since," he said.
He said current administrators believe the incident occurred four or five years ago.
Parker, who now teaches English at a boarding school in New Hampshire, referred all questions to Francis P. Steel Jr., the current head of the school. Steel could not be reached for comment this week.
The hidden camera was disclosed in depositions for the lawsuit Rosenau and his parents filed challenging the school's efforts to expel him during his senior year. O'Neill, however, said: "I don't know that the two things are related. Ours was a safety issue."
The suit challenges the disciplinary action the school took against Rosenau for using a digital camera to record a neighboring Springside School student without her knowledge in a bedroom after a party at the Rosenau home.
Chestnut Hill Academy had argued that officials wanted to expel Rosenau because he had invaded the young woman's privacy by recording her and showing the recording to several Chestnut Hill students at the Rosenau home at lunch. The recording was later erased.
Lee Rosenau, Andrew's father, said: "It seems a bit hypocritical that if this institution is so concerned about privacy that they would go to the extreme of having cameras inside the private space - the bathroom - only to catch smokers."
Under court order, Andrew Rosenau was allowed to receive instruction at home using Chestnut Hill Academy materials. He never got his diploma.
Andrew Rosenau just completed his freshman year at a college in Connecticut.