FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — On Monday, Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved to have automatic license plate detection software to monitor multiple areas around Fort Myers Beach.
The town will work with a company called Flock Safety to install the cameras and work with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, which will help monitor them.
Six cameras were approved unanimously by the town council on Monday. There will be two cameras per location at three designated sites.
People we spoke with around the beach said that while the thought of cameras can intimidate some people, they understand it helps police to observe and protect against crime.
Town manager Roger Hernstadt said the town is installing the cameras as a collaborative project with the sheriff’s office.
The cameras and software, he said, will help monitor the town's sidewalks, side use paths, streets, and roads. These are all monitored by Lee County Sheriff's Office and can be shared with other law enforcement departments.
The Flock Safety license plate camera agreement will cost no more than $15,000 annually, with a one-time implementation fee of $1,500.
"I think safety is a good thing as long as it doesn’t come to 'Big Brother,' said one woman. Somebody watching over every minute that you breathe and walk."
"I think it’s good as long as it’s used to solve crimes and not be in our back pocket looking at us," one man told us.
Privacy concerns were brought up in Monday's council meeting.
"There's been some news reports of some litigation with respect to these type of systems because of privacy concerns," said one council member. "I wonder if contractually can we build in some language that helps protect us from litigation in terms of how we handle this information?"
Council also said if more or fewer cameras are needed, they will bring the topic back for consideration.
"Safety-wise, the way the world is today, everybody thinks that Big Brother is out there watching," said beachgoer Don Frey. "It’s not that. Everybody is out there to keep people safe and that’s the way it should be."