Eight new Homeland Security cameras aimed at Cambridge streets have yet to be switched on after the City Council recently responded to public outcry and ordered the surveillance equipment removed.

Eight new Homeland Security cameras aimed at Cambridge streets have yet to be switched on after the City Council recently responded to public outcry and ordered the surveillance equipment removed.

Fire Chief Gerald Reardon said the cameras were scheduled to be turned on at the end of January, but that plan was temporarily put on hold after the City Council’s vote.

It remains unclear whether the vote will have a permanent impact on the local Homeland Security office’s plan to install cameras across the Boston area. City Manager Bob Healy — not the City Council — runs the day-to-day operations in the city, and the cameras were funded by federal, not city, dollars.

Local officials are waiting to see how Healy will respond to the City Council’s camera ban. Healy was not immediately available for comment.

Public outrage has been boiling over in Cambridge since the Chronicle first revealed in August Homeland Security officials’ plans to quietly install nearly 100 more cameras in the Boston area aimed at city streets.

The local American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has been organizing the charge to remove the cameras, citing that the technology could be easily abused to spy on citizens, while Reardon has argued that the cameras are meant as a tool for 911 dispatchers to view evacuation routes in emergencies rather than as surveillance equipment, pointing to the grainy video footage when the camera’s zoomed pictures.

But Cambridge officials and police in other neighboring communities, such as Somerville, haven’t ruled out the possibility that the video footage could be used to help prosecute criminals, just as detectives use video footage from banks and convenience stores to arrest armed robbers and suspects for other crimes.

Government officials are installing 95 cameras in nine cities and towns in greater Boston at a cost of $4.6 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which includes the cost of developing a wireless network that connects the public safety agencies in the region. Until recently, there were already 88 cameras in the metro Boston area in Chelsea, Everett, Revere and Boston, according to government officials.

Cambridge received about $264,000 this year in the grant program. Each of the city’s eight camera costs about $15,000, and the rest of the grant money is being used to set up a regional wireless network. Reardon said the new network would allow city emergency workers to use their own frequency for police and fire radio communications instead of relying on Verizon.

The camera grant program for the city is run out of Boston City Hall by the Office of Emergency Preparedness, which coordinates Homeland Security efforts for Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Winthrop and Boston.

Where are the cameras?

Cameras aimed at city streets have already been installed at these locations:

· Behind Mount Auburn Hospital

· The Porter Square Exchange

· CCTV’s Central Square building near the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Prospect Street

· The Inman Square firestation

· 812 Memorial Drive

· 364 Rindge Ave.

City officials are still deciding where to install cameras at two other locations in Harvard Square and Kendall Square.

Wicked Local Cambridge