Tampa, Florida -- Remember those 60 or so surveillance cameras installed around the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the downtown area for the Republican National Convention?
They're still there. They're still rolling.
The Tampa City Council took up the issue this morning during a workshop to begin talks about the future use and placement of the cameras.
The $2 million it cost to purchase and install the cameras were covered by a $50 million federal grant the city received to pay for RNC security.
The city purchased 115 cameras and equipment total. 58 cameras are positioned around the downtown area with 20 additional cameras that are able to determine what's normal activity and what's not. When something suspicious pops up on one of the 20 cameras, it alerts police to check the other 58 cameras in the area.
In addition to those cameras, the city also purchased 25 cameras to replace old cameras around the Tampa Police Department in downtown, 16 deployable cameras and five trailers that each have 3-4 cameras.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who gets the final say on whether the cameras stay or go wants them to stay put.
"I do want to keep them up, keep them running here," Mayor Buckhorn told 10 News, "I think we've paid for them, to turn them off would be a disservice. We can't sell them because we would have to pay back the federal government, so we might as well put them to good use."
While critics want to see the cameras go, calling them an invasion of privacy, others like Heidi Damon want them to stay. In fact, she'd like to see them in all of the city's parking garages.
Damon survived a brutal attack inside an Ybor City parking garage three years ago. She can't help but wonder if a surveillance camera had been running in the garage, if it would have deterred her attacker.
"I think sometimes they are a deterrent, sometimes they're not. If he sees there's a camera, maybe he'll think twice, maybe if there was a camera in the vicinity of my car at the day of the attack, maybe he wouldn't have attacked me. You just never know," Damon told 10 News.
She told the council to continue the support of the surveillance cameras.
Councilman Frank Reddick, whose district includes East Tampa says he'd like to see the cameras be moved to his community to deter illegal dumping.
He pointed out that 7of the city's 10 illegal dump site are in East Tampa.
While the cameras are still up and recording, Tampa Police say they are not actively monitoring the cameras, waiting on direction from the mayor.
He has a say about what happens with the cameras during the one year warranty of the surveillance system. Once the warranty is up, the council can decide how to proceed.