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Wendover Will’s may soon get a pair of real eyes- surveillance cameras- to look for miscreants and scofflaws.
Proposed by Councilman Johnny Gorum and endorsed by Chief of Police Ron Supp, West Wendover city Manager Chris Melville was directed to research the idea and see if there was any grant money available for turning the venerable Wendover Will into a kind of eye in the sky for Wendover Boulevard.
The city’s main drag has recently become more deadly. Last year the Wendover Will could have witnessed a suicide by car attempt a fatal hit and run and a near fatal armed robbery.
But while hidden cameras in the 60 year old cowboy might have caught some bad guys local civil libertarians will probably bristle at being watched by Big Brother Will.
After the 9-11 terrorists attack on the World Trade Centers, most large cities began to deploy surveillance cameras to forestall new attempts or to identify terrorists after an attack.
There are surveillance cameras covering most of down town Salt Lake City and in the LDS church Temple complex.
Wendover is however a small town with a population hovering between 4,000 to 5,000. While weekend tourism can swell the weekend population to over 20,000 surveillance cameras might be a little off-putting to the casino industry customers as well as locals.
Offering gambling, drinking and strippers all forms of ‘entertainment’ frowned on by the LDS church, Wendover is a place where anonymity is a valued commodity. The possibility that cameras in Wendover Will could be recording faces and license plates of people who are really not supposed to be in town might be more than a little off-putting to Wendover’s bread and butter.
Locals could see the surveillance as just another extension of police presence in town. While a recent attempt to finger print and run back ground checks on every alcohol server was beaten back after strong pressure from the casino industry, the city council has recently adopted laws mandating similar data collection and research on every new business license applicant.