WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday night is expected to consider banning law enforcement use of facial recognition technology in Waterville.

The virtual meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and the public can view the proceedings through a link on the city’s website — waterville-me.gov.

Mayor Jay Coelho said recently if Waterville were to approve the ban, which he introduced, it would be one of many communities in the United States to have done so, including Portland, Boston and Springfield and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Before it even becomes a thing,” Coelho said, “we’re going to nip it in the bud. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t work.”

Facial recognition software makes it possible to match human faces from digital images or video frames against faces in databases.

Coelho said such technology violates people’s civil liberties.


“We as a city do not have to do that to our citizens,” he said. “They’re free. We aren’t watching them.”

In other matters, the City Council is expected to consider urging Maine’s congressional delegation to vote to recognize Washington, D.C., as a state. The resolution on which city councilors are to vote says residents of the District of Columbia now lack full representation in Congress.

The U.S. Constitution allows Congress to admit new states, including Maine in 1820.

City councilors are also expected to consider voting to refer to the Planning Board for public hearing and recommendation a request from Jennifer Bergeron to rezone 72 Pleasant St. from Residential-D and Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A, to allow the former Sacred Heart Church to be transformed into an events center.

As part of the proposal, the office building would be used as a commercial space, and the rectory would continue to be used as a residential building.

The soup kitchen in the basement of the church closed last year after 40 years. The church announced about a year ago the property was for sale.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.