Board of Commissioners Passes Video Surveillance System Ordinance Amendment Introduced by Lorraine Cochran-Johnson

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  • Board of Commissioners Passes Video Surveillance System Ordinance Amendment Introduced by Lorraine Cochran-Johnson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Manigo, Marketing Specialist, 470-547-2696

Text amendments reflect necessary policy updates to diminish potential harm to gas and service stations, while ensuring public safety

DECATUR, Ga. – On Feb. 14, DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson’s text amendments to the Video Surveillance System (VSS) ordinance were passed unanimously by the Board of Commissioners.

Initially approved in 2022, the ordinance requires gas stations, convenience stores and high-risk businesses to operate a 24-hour VSS and regulates footage quality, storage and lighting. The ordinance was created to capture video footage of crime at gas and service stations, often the location for the highest incidents of violent crime in DeKalb County.

The current updates reduce the storage time of footage from 60 to 30 days; removes the requirement that each gas pump must have a dedicated camera; authorizes a provisional business and/or alcohol license to allow additional time to complete compliance within a 180-day period at the discretion of the county; and revises the technical requirements.

“As a commissioner, my first priority is to protect the health, welfare and safety of DeKalb’s residents and visitors,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “In so doing, we are here to be reasonable in our approach, yet unyielding on our mission of safety.

“As we have set about bringing businesses into compliance, it was necessary to make minor updates to the VSS ordinance,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “These modifications in no way compromise safety. We have found that several gas and service stations have aerial video capture systems that meet the standard set-out in the spirit of the ordinance. So, we are not requiring those locations to install a camera at each gas pump. Also, due to the cost associated with the storage of footage, we believe the cost of holding footage 60 days outweighs the benefit. We have found that, generally, both the county and the business will be aware if a crime has been committed within 30 days – so we have adjusted the video storage accordingly.”


Collectively, Article XV of Chapter 15 of the Code of DeKalb County states that convenience stores and high-risk businesses must include VSS that meet, but are not limited to, the following requirements:

· Maintain a VSS in proper working order at all times, including outside of business hours.

· Keep a VSS in continuous operation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

· Monitor a minimum of 75 feet of building exterior and all gas pumps through VSS.

· Meet a minimum technological standard of 4 MB.

· Requires a one-time mandatory initial inspection of VSS by the director of the Department of Planning and Sustainability (or their designee) for the approval of the placement of all VSS.

· After the initial inspection, the applicant must submit an affidavit with each application for a renewal of their business license that the VSS is operational and in full compliance.

· Requires approval notice and notice of the presence of VSS at the gas pump or building exterior that informs the public that the premises are monitored by VSS.

· Requires date and time on footage and 30-day video storage.

· Establishes fines for non-compliance of VSS requirements established by code.

· Ties ability to renew a business license to VSS compliance.

· Defines high-risk businesses for legal purposes and allows DeKalb County to extend such requirements to any business deemed high-risk to ensure public safety if three calls for police services occur within a 30-day period.


Failure to adhere to the requirements of the ordinance, upon citation by a county employee and conviction of the violation in a court of competent jurisdiction, may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

“We are cracking down on crime in DeKalb,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “The ordinance will engage our local businesses in supporting us in this effort and we have already seen the benefit of VSS footage in helping apprehend perpetrators of crime in DeKalb.”

To read the ordinance in its entirety and gain a full understanding of the requirements, please click here.

For media coverage or to schedule an interview with Commissioner Cochran-Johnson, email Jennifer Manigo [email protected] or call 470-547-2696.