Platte City police chief under fire for cat surveillance camera installed on private property

Residents want police chief fired

PLATTE CITY, Mo. - The Platte City police chief is under fire after a security camera was placed on private property without the owner's consent -- to catch people feeding cats.

At Monday night's Public Safety Committee meeting, residents weighed in on Police Chief Carl Mitchell's admitted mistake.
 
According to a report by city administrator D.J. Gehrt, Mitchell gave consent to install a game camera on private property to monitor the backyard of residents Steve Nash and his daughter Stephanie Santos, who live in separate but connected duplexes.
 
The camera was installed on Oct. 30, and Santos found the camera on Nov. 1. Not knowing who put it there, she panicked.
 
"I thought was this put up by kidnappers trying to figure out my kids' habits," Santos said. "I let them play out there."
 
She reported the camera to police on Nov. 2. Mitchell removed the camera that afternoon.
 
Gehrt's report, which admits a mistake was made, was submitted and approved by the committee.
 
The report makes several recommendations, which include stopping use of game cameras until formal guidelines are established, additional training is given and personnel changes are reviewed. 

Santos and her father have lost trust in their police chief and say he needs to resign.

"He violated the oath of his office," Santos said. "He did not serve and protect. He invaded."

"I literally am in fear of what the police will do next," Nash added.

Gehrt said he understands the concern and is working to address the problem.

"We have apologized repeatedly," Gehrt said. "But sometimes making a mistake and apologizing isn't sufficient. We need to figure out what happened, why it happened and take action so it doesn't happen again."

The full board will consider what action should be taken at its January meeting.

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