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Some NYC Health Inspectors Might Soon Wear Video Cameras

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The faces behind the cutting edge Google Glass technology may soon include New York City health inspectors.

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, a bill pending in the City Council would require 10 percent of the 160 health agents to wear some type of body camera when they inspect restaurants and bars.

The measure calls for a pilot program designed to protect restaurant owners from overzealous inspectors and to safeguards inspectors against abuse.

“So people don’t have to assume, ‘Oh my God, it’s happening in the kitchen’ if it’s happening in the garden or by the garbage cans outside,” said Candice Cook, spokeswoman for Dominique Ansel Bakery, which is known for its cronut pasteries.

Last week, the bakery was shut down after a customer saw a mouse and recorded a video of it that went viral. The Health Department quickly came in and shut down the business for three days.

Cook said video documentation of the inspection would have helped the bakery’s case and could possibly have prevented the shutdown.

City Councilman Vincent Ignizio, R-Staten Island, is pitching the bill.

“We haven’t had the technology before,” he said. “Now we do with things like wearable cameras, and I know Google Glass was something that was mentioned. Those are all possible technologies that we’re going to use.”

The Department of Health would decide what type of camera inspectors would use and how the program would be implemented.

A similar proposal would require sanitation, parking and health agents to photograph evidence of violations that lead to fines. The bill has widespread support among council members and, if passed, could go into effect this fall, Brown reported.

“They should, to verify that you’re getting a ticket justified,” said Felix Rivera, of Soho.

“They can back up what they claim, and we can defend ourselves,” added Pete Starkey, also of Soho.

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