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Petaluma Police Department
Monday May 20th, 2019 :: 04:36 p.m. PDT


Community Concerns Regarding Recently Installed Traffic Cameras

Over the past few weeks, the Petaluma Police Department has become aware of discussion on social media regarding the recent installation of vehicle detection cameras (VDC) in intersections along Sonoma Mountain Parkway from Maria Drive to E. Washington St.  Much of the discussion stemmed from concerns over the funding for the cameras, their scope of use, data-sharing, privacy, and oversight.

In attempt to answer a number of these questions we have consulted with our partners at the City of Petaluma’s Public Works Department.  The following is information we have learned from our traffic engineers regarding the VDCs.
These new vehicle detection cameras (VDC) were installed as part of the reconstruction of Sonoma Mountain Parkway. In order to reconstruct the roadway the traffic sensor equipment embedded in the roadway was going to have to be removed.  The VDC were installed to replace the existing traffic sensors prior to the larger roadway reconstruction project so we could maintain functionality of the traffic signal before and after construction. The new VDC are mounted on the traffic poles and utilize the real time video images and a predefined detection zone to detect motion when vehicles and/or bicyclists. The detection of motion is what prompts a notification for the traffic signals to cycle.  The video images are not recorded or monitored. 
The installation of VDCs was approved as part of the reconstruction of Sonoma Mountain Parkway by City Council on January 28, 2019 and additional information is available on line at or by contacting the Petaluma Public Works Department at 778-4303.
Many of the concerns expressed regarding the VDCs made assumptions that the Petaluma Police Department was using and monitoring the images captured by the cameras.   While that is not currently the case, the Petaluma Police Department prides itself in being a proactive and progress police department.  We are constantly evaluating opportunities to augment our limited staffing with technological solutions that help us be more efficient through intelligence led policing, reduce crime, and improve the safety of our community and officers.  As we consider and evaluate such technology we welcome feedback and comment from the community.

Petaluma Police Department
969 Petaluma Blvd N
Petaluma, CA 94952

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-778-4372

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