STUART, Fla. – Despite a wave of opposition from some elected officials and harsh criticism from local media, the idea of installing “talk-back” cameras to deter sex on the beach is moving forward.
Camera already in use at Jensen Beach Park in Martin County, Fla. The county is considering voice warnings to deter people from having sex on the beaches
Martin County Commissioner Susan Valliere
Commissioners in Martin County, Fla., laid bare their concerns about the monitoring system this week, and decided to discuss the proposal with Sheriff Robert Crowder in January to see if he thinks it would help battle illicit conduct throughout public park property.
“I’ve given the cameras a lot of thought. It’s just a little too much Big Brother for me,” said Commissioner Susan Valliere. “I’m just uncomfortable with it.”
As WND previously reported, amorous beachgoers would be blasted with a bright light and a voice from above warning against sexual relations in public. The voice would come from $5,500 motion-sensing cameras, made by California-based Q-Star Technology.
Flash-CAM monitor records activity, broadcasts warning messages
The call for surveillance also comes after several high-profile arrests statewide and nationally involving elected officials soliciting sex in bathrooms.
Additionally, a sheriff’s office sting in July caught six men at two county beaches on charges of either exposing themselves to undercover officers or soliciting them for sex.
“I’m not denying that we have a problem that needs to be addressed,” Commissioner Lee Weberman said. “But I don’t think we should put cameras on beaches.”
Martin County Commissioner Michael DiTerlizzi
A strong proponent of the surveillance is Commissioner Michael DiTerlizzi.
“I think public safety is probably first and foremost for our citizens,” he said. “I just want to look at every option.”
When the proposal was initially put forward, a WND poll of its readers revealed strong opposition. When asked what they thought of the idea, by far the largest response was “Just another case of Big Brother taking over. What’s next, toilet cams?”
An editorial by the Palm Beach Post had only disdain for the cameras, mentioning not only a negative impact on tourism, but also practical problems if the monitors were indeed posted:
“What’s to stop vandals from taking a hammer or a BB gun to the cameras? Even if the county bought dozens of cameras, surveillance would be spotty. Privacy issues would keep cameras out of public bathrooms, where the solicitation for sex takes place.”
Frank Cerabino, a columnist for the Post, joked, “You know what’s creepier than people having sex on the beach? People photographing people having sex on the beach.”
Another columnist, Geoff Oldfather of the Stuart News, quipped:
But where we really need these Big Brother talking cameras is obvious: The express lane at Publix [Supermarkets].
When you-know-who starts putting the 117 items from their cart on to the belt the camera will yell out:
“Hey idiot, can’t you count?” and Click, the image is captured. Not their face. Their finger.