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Boise Mayor Says Employees Want Tighter Security, Prompting Facial Recognition Tech

Office of the Mayor of Boise

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter says his advocacy for installing facial recognition technology at City Hall and City Hall West comes as a response to city employees who say they're concerned for their safety.

"Our employees, frankly, have a heightened fear that there will be an incident affecting them and the public they serve," said Bieter in an interview with Boise State Public Radio's Morning Edition. "I think based on what we are seeing around the country, that has a basis in fact. We want to respond to that."

Soon after news broke that the City had agreed to a $31,000 contract with  Meridian-based CompuNet to install the facial recognition technology, Boise Council President and mayoral candidate Lauren McClean indicated that she wanted a full, public discussion on the issue. Bieter said he expects that discussion to surface at a City Council meeting in the next couple of weeks.

During his conversation with Morning Edition, Bieter also weighed in on the partisan debate over programs of diversity and inclusion at Boise State University. The debate was triggered by a letter from 28 Republican members of the Idaho House who challenged the university's promotion of diversity and inclusion programs. Bieter called the GOP legislators' letter "embarassing" and "the height of arrogance."

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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