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State Fire Marshal: Lafayette surveillance camera contract is not licensed

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Posted at 3:20 PM, Dec 23, 2020

LAFAYETTE, La. — Crime Fighters of Louisiana, the private entity contracted to provide security cameras for Lafayette, was issued a cease-and-desist letter from Louisiana’s fire marshal for failing to secure a license required by state law.

The company, owned by Lafayette businessman and law enforcement booster Brooks Bernard, can’t immediately execute on a cooperative endeavor agreement it quietly signed with Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory in November.

Unknown to the City Council before it was reported by The Current in early December, the agreement allows Bernard to mount his license plate readers on Lafayette Utilities System’s poles throughout the city and unincorporated areas of the parish in exchange for giving Lafayette police access to the footage.

Lafayette Consolidated Government assumes the installation and ongoing utility costs while Bernard owns the data, according to the agreement.

According to the Dec. 22 letter to Bernard, SFM began investigating Crime Fighters on Friday, Dec. 18 to see if the installation of the closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) on a number of government-managed utility poles around Lafayette Parish was done without first obtaining a license from SFM.

SFM state that it contacted Bernard by phone on Dec. 21 who admitted that he was responsible for the installation of approximately 300 cameras on utility poles throughout the city and parish of Lafayette.

Bernard also said in that call that his company was unaware that the installations were subject to the licensing and regulation oversight of the SFM, but wanted to be in compliance with all applicable laws.

SFM states in the letter that it determined that Crime Fighters had violated a provision of state law by performing the installations of the cameras in Lafayette without first obtaining a license through their office and issued Bernard and Crime Fighters an "official warning."

The letter then tells Crime Fighters to immediately cease and desist the contracting for the cameras until it can obtain a license from SFM.

KATC reached out to the Guillory administration for reaction, and a spokesperson responded by saying:

Obviously, if we do something we make sure it’s in the realm of the law. The State Fire Marshal identified something that was necessary and it was necessary that Crime Fighters is working with the State Fire Marshal."

This story was first reported by The Current. You can read that full story here.

You can read the letter to Crime Fighters below:

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