Georgia State Capitol Gets Outdoor Security Cameras On the QT

A former state representative suggests the video surveillance upgrade was completed without fanfare because politicians do not want to be recorded for fear of future reprisals.

ATLANTA – The state Capitol building here recently underwent a security upgrade, but apparently some politicians are not too enamored with the project.

Without any fanfare, the work included installing a number of outdoor security cameras that now cover several of the entrances. Yet inside the 127-year-old building there isn’t a single camera to be seen. Former state representative Doug Teper, now an adjunct professor at Georgia State University, told 11 Alive, an NBC television affiliate, that is no accident.

“I would imagine the members of the legislature would prefer not to have their daily movements recorded,” said Teper, who was in the legislature 16 years.

Teper explained when the legislature is in session, legislators co-mingle with their friends and their enemies and the state’s well-heeled corps of lobbyists.  Surveillance of those encounters – potentially subject to open records laws – could prove dicey.

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“In this day and time, where any kind of video – grainy black and white video – can be reinterpreted,” Teper said, “it could look bad” for the lawmakers in the video.

The Capitol is a place where traditions die hard. But Teper thinks this one ought to change with the times.

With “terrorism and security, I’m very surprised the state capitol has not been wired for sound and video,” Teper said. 

Yet he added he would not have welcomed that when he was in the legislature.

The Georgia Building Authority declined to confirm the extent of the Capitol’s security or surveillance systems.


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