DeKalb commissioners address constitutional concerns over camera ordinance for gas stations

DeKalb County is set to lower the number of required cameras at convenience stores, and to note that a warrant may be needed to turn over footage to police.

The camera ordinance, which went into effect last summer, requires businesses to install security cameras at every gas pump and at the convenience store’s point of entry, point of exit, and point of sale.

The cameras must have night vision, and the systems must meet specific video resolution requirements, be able to store 60 days’ worth of footage, and be able to supply police with video footage within 72 hours regardless of a warrant. Additionally, the ordinance requires businesses to have lighting on 75 feet of the building.

The Institute for Justice (IJ) says DeKalb County’s convenience store camera ordinance tying business license renewals to the installation of mandatory hi-def video systems – with footage turned over to police on demand – violates property and privacy rights.

IJ sent a letter to county lawmakers in October 2023, “basically just sending up a flare, a warning” that the law has legal flaws, according to a lawyer with the organization.

Commissioners addressed constitutional concerns about the county’s ordinance at a meeting Tuesday.

Now, IJ attorney Jared McClain tells WSB’s Veronica Waters he is hoping commissioners will relax the technical standards, noting many gas stations already have good cameras installed.

“The analogy it makes me think of is – these store owners have iPhone 13s and the government’s saying, ‘you need an iPhone 15, we need the better picture quality here,’” McClain says. “It’s going to cost you $10,000 to do it and at the end of the day, you still just have an iPhone.”

McClain says that if the county insists on the highest quality video, it should help the businesses pay for it.

Veronica Waters

Veronica Waters

News Anchor and Reporter

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

CMG Digital Content Producer





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