SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you spend time on the Sioux Falls bike trail… you’re being watched. But who’s watching, and who put the cameras up in the first place? We reached out to the City of Sioux Falls to find out.
According to Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department, the cameras were put in place by the City of Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Department.
Clemens told KELOLAND News that the Parks Department has installed cameras along the bike trail in places such as Yankton Trails and Falls Park. These cameras, Clemens said, are in place to get data on bike trail usage for Parks & Recreation.
In total, there are cameras at Falls Park, Fawick Park, Beadle Park, Yankton Trails and Elmen Trailhead.
The Sioux Falls Police Department has also worked with the Parks Department to place cameras in Fawick Park and Beadle Park for law enforcement purposes. Clemens noted that while these were the only cameras he knew of in which the police department had direct involvement in placing, they do have access to the rest of the cameras along the trail.
Clemens also noted that the police do not actively monitor the camera network, but will review it if something happens in the area.
This is a similar system to the traffic camera system installed by the Public Works Department, which uses them to track traffic, but which is also available to the police when needed.
Clemens says cameras installed by other departments have absolutely been useful in the past for carrying out investigations.
According to Sean Franken, Business Analyst with the City, cameras at Falls Park, Yankton Trails and Elmen Trailhead are used to capture traffic counts.
Franken said that three cameras were placed at Falls Park in 2022 to help gauge traffic during Winter Wonderland, while the cameras at Yankton Trails and Elman Trailhead were placed earlier this summer. The cameras at Fawick and Beadle Park have been in place for a few years.