Resident Claims Fire Department’s Security Camera Used for Spying

A volunteer fire department installed a surveillance camera on its rooftop, leading to an invasion of privacy lawsuit.

WILKES BARRE, Pa. – A surveillance camera mounted on the rooftop of this township’s municipal building and fire hall – which appears to aim directly at the home of its chief critic – is being used for security purposes, not for spying as Joseph Naperkowski claims, an attorney for the volunteer fire company says.

After years of clashing with township officials and Fire Chief John Yuknavich, Naperkowski purchased a home in November 2012 that borders and overlooks the township municipal building and fire hall, reports.  Earlier this year, the fire department installed the security camera, leading to an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Naperkowski.

An attorney for the fire department shot back Aug. 4 that Naperkowski’s suit lacks merit. Naperkowski “has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the outer perimeter of his home,” wrote attorney J. David Smith of Williamsport, who represents the fire company and Yuknavich.

After Naperkowski filed suit in March, Yuknavich claimed the camera was necessary because Naperkowski has verbally harassed volunteer firefighters and has tossed garbage onto the fire department’s property, reports. He said the camera doesn’t look into Naperkowski’s house, just along the property line.

Smith wrote that the fire company has every right to use surveillance cameras.

“Defendants have a right to ensure the security of the building and the right to place cameras in furtherance of such security,” Smith said.

Smith also wrote that the fire department is entitled to immunity from lawsuits.

Naperkowski and Yuknavich have been publicly battling for years, with Naperkowski writing numerous letters to the editor about Yuknavich’s run-ins with the law while Yuknavich was also a township employee for the public works department, according to

Yuknavich, who no longer works for the township, had been facing trial in Luzerne County Court on two separate cases relating to theft from the fire department, which is run independently of the township, though receives some taxpayer funds, reports.

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