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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Doorbell-cam partnership tested locally; Purdue welcomes Chik-fil-A

News-Sentinel.com published a commentary in July about police agencies across the country joining with a company called Ring, owned by Amazon, to install doorbell cameras in homes to serve as a digital neighborhood watch.

The conclusion of the piece was that the benefits of using doorbell cams and other similar security video services seem to outweigh most of the concerns of some legal experts and privacy advocates and that neighborhood partnerships with local law enforcement makes a lot of sense when you want to protect your home and catch the bad guys.

An Associated Press story at the time reported that Hammond was among more than 400 cities across the U.S. to establish such a partnership between their police departments and the doorbell-cam company. Now Fort Wayne has joined the club, and already it has an opportunity to see how it works.

Earlier this month, the Fort Wayne Police Department agreed to a partnership with Ring that will give officers potential access to homeowners’ video footage. The agreement will allow police to ask for video recorded by homeowners’ cameras within a specific time and area.

A news story Tuesday about three people shot during a home invasion that morning in the 4000 block of Reed Street said the local police department is using Ring to assist in requesting video from houses in that area to see if anyone’s doorbell cameras recorded the shooting that could aid in identifying the suspect.

One of two people inside the Reed Street home Tuesday was shot in the foot during the home invasion. The victim, Demale Amos, 37, and Jamika Martin, 35, told police the suspect (or suspects) may have been shot before they ran away. One person showed up at a local hospital with life-threatening gunshot wounds shortly after officers arrived at the home. Police say that person is now a suspect in the shooting.

This could be an apt test of the effectiveness of doorbell-cams if, in fact, a willing homeowner is able to provide video that would help identify the suspect or suspects in Tuesday’s shooting.

Police say their partnership with Ring only provides that video for crime and safety investigations would be requested for review. Fort Wayne police spokesperson Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena explained earlier this month that, as in this case, homeowners in a certain area would be contacted by Ring after police ask for video footage recorded during a specific time frame. The homeowners may choose to submit all or only select videos to police, or they may choose not to submit any.

Purdue welcomes Chik-fil-A over protest

Another recent News-Sentinel.com commentary piece supported the University of Kansas’ decision to move a campus Chik-fil-A franchise to the student union in spite of demands from a faculty committee that it be banned from the university.

“The culture of Chick-fil-A fosters hate and discrimination on multiple levels,” the Sexuality & Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council wrote in a two-page letter. They accused university leaders of being “more concerned about money and corporate sponsorship than the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of marginalized and LGBTQ people.”

Now, a week later, Purdue is under attack from some of its own faculty, the student body president and the university senate for standing by its plans to bring a Chik-fil-A on campus.

A story Sunday in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, reported that Purdue, however, cited “overwhelming demand for (Chick-fil-A’s) service from students, staff and faculty” in its decision to allow the restaurant on campus.

Rob Wynkoop, Purdue’s director of service enterprises, said the campus franchise, to be installed in the Third Street Suites North residence hall when the building opens next year at 401 N. Russell St., will be connected to one already in business on South Street in Lafayette.

The Journal and Courier story said Purdue was not swayed by the complaints that Chik-fil-A supports organizations that LGBT advocates view as hostile to gays and lesbians.

The university issued a statement that said the franchise owner “has signed and observed a commitment of equal access and treatment in her employment and service practices.”

The opponents of Chik-fil-A at both Kansas and Purdue are saying the restaurant stands for bigotry, based on CEO Dan Cathy’s religious-based stances against same-sex marriage.

But Purdue’s statement countered, “We would not be promoting choice and freedom by depriving thousands of people in our community of a choice they have long sought and are already taking advantage of in large numbers. And, we would not be practicing inclusion by excluding a completely legitimate business and its staff from our campus.”

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