Detroit police commissioners set to vote on use of controversial facial recognition technology

There will be stiff penalties for anyone who misuses the system

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DETROIT – After months of tense debate, the Detroit Police Commission will meet to settle a controversial issue Thursday.

The commissioners will be voting on a plan that would put facial recognition technology on traffic cameras around the city. So far, all signs indicate that there are enough commissioners who support the Detroit Police Department's use of facial recognition.

"I do believe there are enough votes," said Lisa Carter, chair of the commission. "Today, I'm leaning toward supporting the facial recognition technology."

Detroit police Chief James Craig spent the summer campaigning, offering tours of the Real Crime Center. The goal was to highlight how the Detroit Police Department plans to use the technology.

This vote comes after months of protest and opposition from the public. Commissioner William Davis said that even in the final hours, city leaders are working to lock in yes votes.

Davis stands in solidarity with Willie Burton, who was arrested this summer after he demanded the Detroit Police Department have open dialogues about facial recognition technology.

"There's no way in the world I can vote for something that's not reliable when it comes to black and brown people," Davis said.

"I believe that Lansing will get it done if we can't get it done here because the people have spoken loud and clear," Burton said.

Carter said the revised policy changes made this a yes for her, including stiff penalties for anyone misusing the system.

"Anyone who violates the policy can be terminated from the department as well as be charged criminally," Carter said.

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