Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Public hearings on San Diego 'smart streetlights' slated

A smart streetlight located near the entrance of the San Diego State University campus is pictured June 4, 2019.
Lynn Walsh
A smart streetlight located near the entrance of the San Diego State University campus is pictured June 4, 2019.

The San Diego Police Department will hold a series of community meetings next week to inform the public and gather feedback on a proposal to use streetlights equipped with surveillance cameras and automated license-plate readers as tools to solve crimes.

Thousands of so-called "smart streetlights" were in use in San Diego for several years before city leaders agreed to deactivate the video recording capabilities of the devices in 2020 amid protests over perceived government intrusiveness and demands for limits on how they could be used.

The public hearings will take place under terms of a 2022 ordinance detailing requirements that every city department meet for each technology that meets the criteria of surveillance, officials said.


The meetings will consist of a presentation outlining the capabilities of the two technologies and their proposed use by the SDPD, including access, data storage and retention, and release of video collected.

The sessions are scheduled for:

  • March 6, 1 p.m.-4 p.m., Otay Mesa-Nestor Branch Library, 3003 Coronado Ave.;
  • March 6, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Rancho Penasquitos Library, 13330 Salmon River Road;
  • March 7, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Education First Building, 3455 Kenyon St.;
  • March 7, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Balboa Park Club, 2150 Pan American Road West;
  • March 8, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., SDPD Mid-City Division station, 4310 Landis St,;
  • March 8, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., City View Church, 8404 Phyllis Place;
  • March 9, noon-3 p.m., Mira Mesa Library, 8405 New Salem St.;
  • March 9, 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Bridge Church, 3714 Teak St.; and
  • March 10, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.

Those interested in attending the meetings are encouraged to review in advance the planned public presentation, use policies and other supporting materials on the SDPD's technology web page.

Public comments regarding the topics will be accepted until 5 p.m. March 10.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.