MARYLAND

Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman removes secret surveillance system

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During his time in office, former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold monitored a secret system of 500 cameras located in county government buildings. But as one of her first decisions as the new county executive, Laura Neuman is removing the system.

More than 900 surveillance cameras are installed both inside and outside Anne Arudel County government buildings.

County resident John Mason said, "I think it's wrong, really. People don't have no freedom...it's an invasion of privacy."

But Neuman said what really made her uncomfortable was who was watching.

"...[they] were being monitored specifically by this individual outside of the purview of the police department or any department of county government. My understanding is that he was reporting directly to the county executive."

Leopold resigned in Jan. after being convicted for misconduct in office.

The man monitoring the cameras, Contractor Bill Hyers, was fired. He told ABC7 by phone Tuesday that he did nothing wrong and says he reported to county police, not Leopold.

Neuman said they are now looking for every camera. But she said the 530 in question were located in the county police department, Heritage Complex and the Arundel Center, which houses county executive offices and the county council.

Maryland State Police will lead the investigation into the surveillance cameras, with county police assisting.

Neuman says they're examining computer monitors, hard drives and files to see if anything is illegal or improper.

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