Camera in Walworth Clerk’s Office brings allegations of “hidden” surveillance, refuted by Town Board

On Friday, February 10, Walworth Town Clerk Susie Jacobs received a call from an unnamed source, telling her that there was a hidden camera in her Town Clerk’s office. The unidentified man told her where the camera was located and where it might be pointing.

Jacobs indicated that she did not do anything over the weekend, but on Monday, after working at the office, she came back after 6 pm with some witnesses to look around.
She described that they found a camera in the ceiling located inside what looked like a smoke detector. One of the witnesses examined it and found that it was not a smoke detector, and that a camera was inside. She indicated that the cover was removed to identify what was inside, but the camera was not removed.

In going through random photos of the office, it appeared that the (camera) was not there in 2008, but was in a photo in 2012, so it could have been installed anytime from 2008 until 2012.

She and her volunteers called the State Police to make a report. The Troopers asked her if she had been aware that the camera was there, and she told him no.

Supervisor Patti Marini was called to the Town Hall and spoke to the State Police. She arrived and was asked questions about the camera.

Marini stated that all the cameras in the Town Hall have been installed for years and are there for the security of the public. She indicated that there are signs throughout the Town Hall (and on the outside doors as you enter) that indicate the Town Hall has surveillance cameras.

the Town Board issued a statement at their Thursday Town Board meeting to address the allegations

The statement read: “The Town Clerk’s Office is the official repository of the Town’s official records and is a public office that is protected by this system.”

Further, it was noted, that signs are posted on all entrance doors to Town offices announcing that there is a security and surveillance system in place. (Cameras are not installed in bathrooms, as they are places which have an expectation of privacy and, therefore, is prohibited by NYS law.) It was also shared that, approximately one year ago, the Town’s Security and Surveillance System assisted the New York State Police in an investigation of a sexual assault, wherein security footage in Ginegaw Lodge was shared with local law enforcement. Cooperation with the investigation was agreed upon by the Town Board members, who are all aware of the security system. “Any assertion to the contrary is false.” The statement concludes as follows: “The Town Clerk’s continued erratic behavior is cause for concern. These conspiracy theories are nonsense as evidenced by the fact that [the Town] has been notified by the New York State Police that their investigation, instigated by the Town Clerk, was immediately closed.” FEBRUARY 18, 2017